Coach Sablan says this year’s Tigers already better than last year’s squad

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 19, 2017 07:09 PM
Sablan says this year’s Tigers are better
GOING GROWLING. Though they are yet to win, head coach Boy Sablan is happy with what he's seeing from a UST lineup he can call his own.

If not for Paul Desiderio’s game-winner, University of Sto. Tomas would have had win number one in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And if not for a painful turnover total of 41, they would have had another win.

But both of those weren’t meant to be, however, and the Tigers now find themselves one of two winless teams in the tournament.

Still, second-year head coach Boy Sablan is choosing to look at the silver lining. Talking about their close 81-88 loss to Adamson University last Saturday, he said, “Positive pa rin kami kasi 41 turnovers pero hindi naman kami natambakan ng ganun kalaki. Baka nanalo pa nga kami kung sakaling na-limit namin yun.”

He then continued, “At the same time, lamang kami sa assists, sa rebounds.”

Indeed, Sablan’s squad won the battles in assists, 19-16, and in rebounds, 47-32.

They also had solid showings from the likes of Marvin Lee who had a career-high 20 in their first game and Jeep Faundo who had a career-high 21 in their second game.

That is exactly why the UST mentor is already liking what he’s seeing from his boys – especially when compared to their 3-11 performance a season ago. “Sabihin na natin, baka magalit na naman yung mga bashers ko, pero sa totoo lang, maganda yung nilalaro namin kumpara last year,” he said.

Along with the development of holdovers Lee and Faundo, much of that also has to do with newcomers who were recruited by Sablan himself. “Sa totoo lang, yung mga rookies, ang laking tulong talaga. Yung mga ni-recruit ko like Jordan Sta. Ana and Steve Akomo,” he said.

Indeed, Akomo looks more than worthy of holding down the fort the way Karim Abdul did before him while Sta. Ana looks to have all the tools to be an end-to-end force.

Of course, the young Tigers still have a ways to go – and their head coach is well aware of that. “Yung maturity, wala pa and hindi pa talaga solid yung team chemistry namin. Pero papunta na kami run,” he said.

They try again for their first win on Wednesday at the MOA Arena when they take on National University.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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