With the season slowly slipping away from its hands, University of Santo Tomas simply needs a win to get its morale back.
On Saturday, the Growling Tigers got a victory they wanted – and a major reversal at that.
The Tigers ended their five-game slide, with their 73-69 victory also sending National University reeling to its third straight loss and also boosting their own Final Four bid in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
No one perhaps believed that the Tigers might still be capable of pulling off surprises, especially since they had been mired on a long losing streak never before seen.
“It’s all about team effort. Team defense. Yun ang naging problema namin in our last five games noong nag-skid kami. So nagtrabaho talaga ang mga bata,” said coach Boy Sablan.
“Talagang gusto nilang manalo. Ipinakita nila na kaya nila,” he added.
After a disappointing offensive showing against defending champion Far Eastern University last Wednesday, UST had a better effort this time around, thanks to Marvin Lee who delivered a career-high 22 points.
Skipper Louie Vigil also played well for the Tigers with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Jam Sheriff also played his best collegiate game offensive game with 19 points.
“We really wanted to win this for the community. It’s really hard to lose five games in a row,” said Sheriff, who like Vigil is playing on his final season for UST.
Proving everyone that they are worthy contenders, the Tigers are still very much in the hunt for another Final Four stint.
UST, runners-up in three of the last four seasons, is currently tied with University of the Philippines at 3-7, just trailing behind joint fourth placers Adamson and NU (4-5) by one-and-a-half game.
“Yung battlecry namin, di kami susuko. Yung aim namin na makapasok sa itaas, hindi magbabago yan,” said Vigil.
Up next for the Tigers is a duel with unbeaten La Salle on Sunday, as the España-based cagers hope to avenge their forgettable 38-point loss to the Green Archers in the first round.