'All out' Tigers promise there would be no more broken hearts in España
Alvin Laqui on Sep 01, 2016 01:53 PM
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Can five years of heartbreak finally teach the Growling Tigers their lesson?
The UST Growling Tigers had a single-digit lead against the FEU Tamaraws in the last six minutes of Game 3 of the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball Finals courtesy of a corner three-pointer from then-rookie Marvin Lee.
The long awaited, much-wanted championship was close enough to touch for some fans at the MOA Arena.
It wasn’t meant to be, however and their run of heartbreaks just continued. Clutch plays late in the game from an inspired Mac Belo and a brazen Mike Tolomia once again, broke the hearts not only of the Growling Tigers, but also drove a dagger right through the hearts of UST fans.
Again, UST came oh so close, but ended up just mere minutes away from glory.
The sight of a sad sea of gold at the MOA Arena confronted Louie Vigil and the rest of the Tigers when the final buzzer sounded. “Nakita ko yung UST crowd na parang, (expletive), nabigo namin sila,” he expressed.
He then continued, “Parang nandun na, konting minuto na lang para mag-champion, para ma-gain yung glory, and nawala pa.”
Game 3 of the UAAP Season 78 Finals was this squad’s TOTGA — The One That Got Away. So Vigil, fellow veteran Kent Lao, and the rest of the squad are set to go all out to prevent any more broken hearts in España this season.
Indeed, the sight of letting down the Espana faithful was a feeling team captain Vigil would never want to feel again. “May mga solid Thomasians pa rin na naniniwala na makakamit namin yung ultimate goal. Just continue to support us, lalo na tayo yung host, we're expecting to go all out this coming season,” he said.
Echoing the “All out” mantra of Vigil, Lee said that if he was given a chance, he would have chased the one game that got away. “Nung Game 3 na yun, kung mangyayari ulit yun, ‘di ko na sasayangin yung pagkakataon,” he said, shaking his head. “Bibigay ko na talaga lahat kahit anong mangyari,” he added.
It seems like it has always been in clutch situations when UST lost all of their championship hopes and after five years of heartbreak, Vigil has taken note of this. “Yun yung natutunan ko, every possession matters,” he said.
He continued, “Kailangan ko maging mas composed ngayon as a leader. Kailangan ako yung huling kinahabahan dito.”
Even with no Karim Abdul to handle the bulk of the scoring in the paint, no Ed Daquiag to serve as role-player-cum-hero, and Kevin Ferrer to put on a Klay Thompson-esque performance in an elimination game, Vigil believes — no, guarantees – that someone will step up this season. As the new King Tiger said, “Alam kong may mag-step up dito. Hindi ko alam kung sino ngayon, pero I guarantee na may mag-step up.”
With the way they lost last season, the Tigers are more motivated than ever to go all out. “We have hungrier players right now na gustong i-prove yung sarili nila so siyempre para ma-prove yung sarili mo, you have to work harder. Nakikita ko sa kanila na they're doing it naman,” Vigil said.
Vigil considers the pressure to deliver as an opportunity to represent UST and prove the school’s heart. “Blessed na maglaro sa UST and lalo na ngayong host pa. ‘Di naman mawawala yung kaba, pero yung kabang yun, tine-take namin as extra fuel,” he said.
After all those years of heartbreak, Lao assured their believers that their loyalty will still not be put to waste for the upcoming season. “Sa sixth man namin i-ooffer ang every game. Every game, i-ooffer talaga namin sa Thomasian community,” he said.
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