UAAP: Nic Cabañero to keep fighting as UST’s woes continue
MANILA, Philippines—Nic Cabañero couldn’t hide his frustration as University of Santo Tomas’ losses continued to pile up in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament despite the return of coach Pido Jarencio.
On Wednesday, the Growling Tigers stumbled to their sixth consecutive setback after a 97-77 loss to defending champion Ateneo at Mall of Asia Arena.
Overall, UST hasn’t won in its last 19 games dating back to last season. The Tigers’ current streak is already the school’s worst since they dropped 17 in a row spanning Seasons 79 and 80 under former coach Boy Sablan.
“Siyempre masakit kasi kasama ako doon e. Yung mga players dun na mga teammates ko, kasama din. Mga last year, from my first year up until sa third year ko ngayon. Sobrang nasasaktan kasi ako personally kasi super mahal ko ang UST, dito ako grumaduate ng senior high school,” said Cabañero, who carried the Tigers with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in another loss.
It was heartbreaking for Cabañero but the Tigers’ leading scorer is not losing hope.
“Hopefully, gusto kong mag-leave ng legacy sa school kahit papaano, together with my teammates. Kasi ako ang goal ko lang naman is manalo e. I think lahat naman ng teams ganun din. So, I think kailangan lang namin is talagang magtrabaho pa. Trust the system,” he said.
“I think yung hope is andiyan pa rin. We made a lot of mistakes. I think we need to improve. Tiwala lang kami sa isa’t isa. Yun nga, parang masakit sabihin na mada-down kami pero dapat lumaban pa rin kami kasi hindi pa rin tapos ang season,” he added.
Cabañero lamented the team’s lack of cohesion and resilience.
“Bumitaw kami sa fourth quarter. I think it’s our fault kung bakit bumitaw kami. Everyone in our team, mga teammates ko, and including me, bumitaw kami,” said Cabañero. “Ang masasabi ko lang talaga is, may kaniya-kaniya kaming mga personal na attitude. Instead na lalaban kami, for example, nakaka-run [ang kalaban] parang nabababa ang morale namin which is pangit talaga yun. Kasi hindi pa naman talaga tapos ang laban. Dapat i-lift up pa namin ang isa’t isa para mas mag-connive pa kami sa second round.”
Cabañero vows to continue addressing their lapses and leaving everything on the floor in their remaining games with the second round starting next week.
“Of course, every game, nire-review ko naman yung sarili ko, my mistakes, kung ano yung tamang ginawa. Ibibigay ko pa rin ang best ko hanggang sa makakaya ko. Kanina nga, na-sprain yung ankle ko pero yun, malayo sa bituka yun so kayang-kaya pa rin para sa UST, para sa team ko,” he said. “Gagawin ko lahat. Alam ko naman yun, yung mga teammates ko, coaches, sa management. Talagang may tiwala sa akin.”