Host University of Santo Tomas’ first-year coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan admitted fatigue took its toll on the Growling Tigers on Wednesday night, leading to the team’s worst loss in the UAAP over the last 10 years.
UST suffered a complete struggle against La Salle’s “Mayhem” defense, turning the ball over 40 times that led to a numbing 62-100 setback in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was the worst loss by UST in a decade since another Tigers team suffered a jarring 78-114 loss dealt by Ateneo in 2006 but still went all the way to the crown.
Sablan was quick enough to admit that the Growling Tigers paid a stiff price for their lackluster performance in the third canto when they could only score 14 points while allowing the Green Archers to score 15 markers more that turned a close encounter into a rout.
“Nag-fold up kami nu’ng third quarter. We started flat,” said Sablan, echoing the earlier observation made by his La Salle counterpart, Aldin Ayo, that the third canto proved to be “the game-changer.”
But Sablan still could not help but mainly rue UST’s tons of errors which La Salle turned into 34 points, most of them off easy lay-ups in the second half.
“Pinatay kami ng turnovers namin,” he said. “Sabi ko lang we lost in this game kasi tayo ang tumalo sa sarili namin sa turnovers. Kahit marami ang turnovers namin nu’ng first half, hindi naman malayo ‘yung score. Kaya lang nu’ng second half, dun na. Na-double ‘yung turnovers namin. Hindi na usual.”
Sablan felt the Tigers failed to recharge quick following a close 88-87 victory over University of the East, another team known for its pressing defense, last Saturday when they also turned the ball over 31 times before plunging into a pair of hard practices to disrupt La Salle’s vaunted defensive pressure.
“‘Yung preparations namin sa trap, hindi namin nagawa. Siguro ‘yung past two days na ginawa namin nag-tally ‘yung pagod nu’ng mga bata dahil puro trap. Darating at darating ‘yung pagod. May pagod na talaga,” he lamented.
“Na-scout naman namin (La Salle’s pressure defense), pero nu’ng third quarter talaga, flat ‘yung start namin. At the same time, napagod na yung mga bata rin. Very hectic ang sked namin at ‘yun ang naging problema namin. Magkakasunod ‘yung laro namin, puro trapping team pa kalaban namin.”
UST, now 1-2, has the chance top get back on track on Saturday when the Tigers take on the winless University of the Philippines at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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