Tigers battle Tams today
For revenge, solo leadBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Off to its best start in over a decade, University of Santo Tomas doesn’t see itself slowing down in the second round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The Tigers, who are riding a six-game winning streak, shoot for the solo lead and a vengeful win over Far Eastern University at 4 p.m. today at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re ready,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio. “We want to stay sharp, we want to stay as a contender. Our target is the No. 1 or No. 2 spot.”
The Tigers share the lead with idle four-time champion Ateneo at 6-1, their best record since completing a 7-0 sweep of the first round in 1999. Another motivation for UST is a chance to avenge its 73-72 loss to FEU in the first round after the Tigers blew a 10-point lead in the last quarter.
National University guns for solo fourth against Adamson in the other game at 2 p.m.
Ray Parks hopes to translate his big game to a win this time after exploding for 35 points in the Bulldogs’ heartbreaking double-overtime loss to La Salle, 87-86, last Saturday.
Jarencio thinks his Tigers—who expect the injured Jeric Teng to suit up anew—have vastly improved since their opening-day setback.
“With Jeric now recovered, we’re complete and we’re stronger,” said Jarencio, who’s also leaning on MVP race leader Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Jeric Fortuna.
Teng, the team’s second-best scorer with an average of 16 points, was sidelined for three games due to a knee injury.
The Tamaraws also hope to start the second round strong after dropping a 74-71 decision to the Blue Eagles last Saturday.
“We tend to relax when we have a big lead,” said FEU guard Terrence Romeo, who leads his team with averages of 16.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists. “We really have to focus and work harder.”
The Tamaraws ranked third at the end of the first round with a 5-2 slate, while the Bulldogs and the Archers shared fourth at 4-3.