This time around, UST was not ‘starstruck’ with UP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 07, 2019 08:27 PM
This time around, UST was not ‘starstruck’ with UP
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

University of Sto. Tomas sent a statement with a wire-to-wire win over the University of the Philippines, Saturday at Araneta Coliseum.

After trailing 12 - 6 early in the first quarter, the Growling Tigers never trailed the Fighting Maroons the rest of the way in the early season duel between playoff hopefuls.

They also counted five players in double-digits all while claiming the statement win thanks to an 11-0 finishing kick.

This, just three months after they were blown out by the same State U side by 17 points in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

Then, head coach Aldin Ayo did not see the fight he has long been used to from his wards. "I told them to have a sense of pride in what they do. Sinabihan ko yung players kanina na karamihan sa atin, galing sa probinsya tapos pag naglaro na tayo rito at may nakita tayong medyo maputi, medyo maporma, na-iintimidate na," he said then.

He then continued, "Pag yung mga players na kalaban nila, maraming followers sa Instagram, medyo naii-starstruck e. Dapat 'di ganun."

Now, however, it was UST who was taking the fight to UP and, at the same time, the former had all the answers for the latter.

"Obviously, they learned from that experience," the fiery mentor said this time around, nothing but satisfied. "While I was talking to the kids (then), we had that connection na talagang may eye contact and I told them, 'Learn from this and make sure na next time, hindi na mangyayari ito."

Indeed, Soulemane Chabi Yo ran circles around reigning and defending MVP Bright Akhuetie; Mark Nonoy shone bright under the bright lights, on the big stage, and in the face of Jun Manzo; and Renzo Subido caught fire when it mattered most.

And in the end, it was the Growling Tigers who starred in the battle between Espana and Diliman and it was the Growling Tigers who struck a chord with the rest of the league.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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