The UST community have been preaching Jeric Teng’s mantra, “Not Today,” for the last few games. This time around, the Tigers are throwing this away and want to end it on Saturday, October 5. The King Tiger himself tweeted about this, oddly wishing that Game 2 of Season 76 Finals be his last UAAP Game.
For the rest of the UST Growling Tigers, they’d like to think that the time has come for UST’s Teng to finally take a bow at the UAAP stage with flying colors. A graduation accessorized with a championship trophy is what we are all wishing for the graduating seniors – Teng, Clark Bautista, et. al.
However, DLSU’s Teng and the rest of his troops are expected to provide all the necessary obstacles for the Tigers to extend the series to a rubber match. Indeed, the road to the promise land for the Growling Tigers will not be a walk in the park. It has been publicly claimed by coach Pido Jarencio and Teng that UST got lucky to snatch Game 1. That game could have easily favored the Green Archers. With the breaks of the game, Thomasians have been joking around that Game 1 was bagged in for the Tigers because Thomasians are more prayerful than Lasallians. Some even go the distance and say that maybe, just maybe, the basketball god is a Thomasian.
Be it luck or sheer perseverance, you know what, Thomasians will gladly take either of the two. As a Thomasian, I’d like to think that we are molded to know where we stand and to know our strengths and weaknesses. We know for a fact that we are not the best one out there but we never stop there, we strive to be better and continuously grow each and every day. Almost always finding ourselves at the underdog side of things probably let us appreciate every victory we come along and gives us the explanation why success comes sweeter for Thomasians.
Going back to the basketball side of things, how do the Tigers end in all this Saturday?
Keys of the Game
The so-called experts in basketball have shared their thoughts and they all agreed that DLSU is just too deep for UST. True enough, in Game 1, when the starters of the Growling Tigers have to catch their breath, the Green Archers got themselves going. The once 14-point lead by the Tigers was easily erased by the Green Archers and they even managed to snatch the lead. The second unit concerns of the Tigers was also noted by Coach Jarencio, mentioning that their bench players should play at the same level as their starters if they want to bring home the trophy to España once more.
O Reb and 2nd Chance Points
Oh boy, the Twin Tower combination of Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres is just too much for Karim Abdul and the rest of the Tigers. UST was demolished in offensive rebounding battle as well as in the second chance points. The Green Archers managed to collar 18 offensive rebounds to give them 18 second chance points while Tigers only got seven offensive rebounds and only two second chance points.
Come to think of it, offensive rebounds and second chance points almost killed the Tigers in Game 1. If not for that saving block of Abdul, DLSU would have won Game 1 courtesy of LA Revilla’s offensive rebound and second crack at the basket.
Aside from the second unit improvement, the Tigers really have to do a way how to limit the Green Archers from getting those offensive rebounds and second chance points.
Mariano vs Perkins
Aljon Mariano and Jason Perkins are two players that could positively influence their respective teams. In Game 1, though, both these players didn’t have much impact as everyone expected. Perkins did have his moment – sinking in a three-pointer to inch a little bit closer to the Tigers in the dying moments of Game 1, but knowing his ability and potentials, he could have provided much more damage.
Mariano, on the other hand, struggled all throughout the game and that last possession turnover he committed with 29 seconds remaining in the game could have caused them the win. Both these players can explode at any given time, whoever from these gentlemen figures out an A-game can will definitely give his team an edge.
The UST Growling Tigers has been ready for this moment. They’ve learned from their lessons and they’re now poised to get what they failed last year. UST will win this one.