UST Growling Tigers def. FEU Tamaraws 81-71
Soulemane Chabi Yo, UST (25 points, 11 rebounds)
MVP for a reason. Chabi Yo was splendid in this do-or-die for the Growling Tigers. The funny thing was, he didn’t even need to do anything out of the ordinary to produce the way he did. He focused on grabbing rebounds and took advantage of the opportunities given to him by Coach Aldin Ayo. What he does isn’t always flashy, but you can’t deny that it’s damn valuable and effective.
Brent Paraiso, UST (18 points, 5/9 3FG)
Brent’s been floating as an effective wing for UST all season long, but in this game, he took the chance to stand out by shooting extremely well from beyond the arc. It’s not like he was forcing shots. He was smart with his decision making while playing good enough defense for UST. It’s been quite a journey for Brent, but you can’t help but feel happy that he’s now flourishing in his fourth year in the UAAP.
Mark Nonoy, UST (6 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists)
Nonoy continued to be blistering on both ends of the floor. You can never take the flash out of Mark. But what impressed with Mark today was his willingness to shift gears when needed and his smarter point guard play. Aside from seven assists, he had just ONE turnover despite playing with the speed which he does. The talent has always been there. The growth is coming along. The UAAP better watch out.
Ken Tuffin, FEU (20 points, 5/10 3FG)
After a sluggish first half, the Tamaraws needed a spark. Somewhere. Anywhere. With LJay Gonzales and Wendell Comboy struggling, Ken Tuffin took advantage and hit a bunch of threes to help FEU rally against UST. Aside from his shooting, Tuffin’s all around play was impressive too. Walang tapon. He never forced drives, kept his mind on spacing the floor for his guards, and played damn good defense on FEU’s wings and forwards. What an inspired performance from Ken.
- UST came out FIRING to start the game and it wasn’t just a case of luck. What was more impressive was how locked in and fresh they looked despite the long lay-off (10 days of rest). News flash: good coaches find ways to keep his team in shape despite long periods of rest. It showed during the first half with the whole Growling Tigers team clicking thanks to excellent execution on both ends of the floor.
- Here’s one problem UST has, however: turnovers. Once FEU settled down and amped up the pressure during the second quarter, the Tigers had trouble keeping hold of the ball. FEU took advantage as evidenced by the 24 points they scored off the 25 turnovers the Growling Tigers committed. It’s difficult to win games when you commit THAT much turnovers. UST needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball if they want to have a shot at making it to the Finals.
- This game was a perfect microcosm of FEU’s season: a shaky beginning due to nerves, youth, and a little bad luck; then they proceed to follow it up with a second half filled with promise and elite basketball play, only for their attempt to fall short. Sayang. This FEU team is good, but their start was too terrible for them to catch up to UST’s hot shooting. It was an inspired effort nonetheless.
- UST and FEU both face bright futures ahead of them no matter what the endings to their season may be. UST, even after this season, has a lot of young talent plus at least one more year of Soulemane Chabi Yo. FEU, while losing four seniors, has a ridiculously talented core that can only get better.