UST still has nothing to lose, says Pido
MANILA, Philippines – After their heart-stopping win over De La Salle University in Game 1, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers are one game away from making history once again and become the first fourth seed to win a UAAP men’s basketball crown.
But UST head coach Pido Jarencio insists that his Tigers are under no pressure and will play Game 2 on Saturday as if they have nothing to lose.
“Nothing to lose pa rin kami dito,” Jarencio said after the Tigers took Game 1 of the best-of-three series, 73-72, last Wednesday. “’Yung team na ito, upset-conscious lang kasi galing kami sa ilalim. Basta, trabaho lang kami.”
The Growling Tigers became the first fourth seed to advance to the Finals after upsetting the top-seeded National University (NU) in the Final Four. Jarencio, who broke down in tears after UST eliminated NU, was more upbeat following their win against La Salle.
“Relaxed kasi ang atmosphere sa amin,” he said. “Walang pressure. Nothing. Wala talaga.”
But he stressed that the Growling Tigers will be “more ready” on Game 2, which is set for Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jarencio is hoping to get more production from his second group, especially after they allowed the Green Archers to get back in the game in the second quarter after the UST starters had built a 17-point lead in the opening frame.
“We had our run, tapos nagpalit ako ng tao – s’yempre hindi naman pwedeng tumagal din ‘yung first group ko,” he said. “Nakuha nila ‘yung run nila sa second group ko.”
“Yun ang kailangan naming ayusin, ‘yung second group namin. Kailangan ma-maintain ‘yung laro ng first group, or mahigitan pa,” he added.
History is on UST’s side on Game 2, as 15 of the 19 teams who have won Game 1 went on to clinch the UAAP championship.
But UST was the last team to back this trend. In 2006, with Jarencio in his first year of coaching, the Growling Tigers overcame a 0-1 series deficit to stun the Ateneo Blue Eagles in three games.