Pressed for time, motivated Tigers up for the challenge
As University of Santo Tomas enters another era under coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan, the holdovers are excited to adapt to a new system as they prepare for the upcoming UAAP Season 79.
“Masaya kami kasi meron na kaming sistema,” said sophomore guard Marvin Lee. “Kailangan lang namin mag-focus sa system ni coach.”
The Growling Tigers got ran their first practice with Sablan at the helm on Wednesday with the new coaching staff subjecting the big pool to drills to gauge their individual skills.
Fifth year forward Kent Lao, though, admitted that the Growling Tigers are still struggling to Sablan’s new system.
“Sa umpisa naman, ganun lagi dahil may adjustments pa. Pero positive naman ako kasi lahat naman ng mga players kailangan marunong mag-adapt sa bagong system. Yung tiwala naman namin andun, kahit sino man ang maging coach or adviser namin.”
Lee said that with the race to the final roster getting even tougher with nobody assured of a spot yet, everyone has to bring their A-game everyday to practice.
“Di kami pwedeng mag-relax kasi baka mamaya, may pumalit sa akin sa team. Kailangan ko pa rin i-push yung sarili ko,” he said.
Being one of the seniors, Lao knows that the three month preparation isn’t going to be enough for the Growling Tigers.
Not helping are the graduations and abrupt exits of UST’s leaders, making the trek to the Final Four all the more harder.
But for the 6-foot-3 forward, it’s that kind of challenge that should drive last season’s runner-up to prove the doubters wrong.
“Honestly, maiksi yung time, pero syempre nasa amin naman yun. Kahit maiksi yun, kung twice or thrice kami magtatrabaho sa isang araw, feeling ko magiging enough naman yun para maging okay yung campaign namin,” Lao said.
“Kailangan lang namin labanan yung pressure at mga taong hindi naniniwala sa amin. Yung goal namin last year tsaka this year, parehas lang naman. Kailangan lang, may isang mag-lead lang talaga.”