UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas is confident the long break and the massive flood that affected the country this week will not hamper its stellar play in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament which resumes on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The league returns to action after a week of postponed games caused by heavy rains that flooded most of the major thoroughfares within the metropolis.
The Tigers were among those severely affected as they weren’t able to practice for three days owing to the flooded grounds in and around the UST campus.
The Tigers are set to meet the winless University of the East Warriors in the 4 p.m. game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Mula Tuesday hanggang Thursday hindi kami nakapag-praktis,” said coach Pido Jarencio. “Hindi naman binaha ‘yung gym namin pero hindi kami nakapasok dahil baha sa labas. 'Yung mga players naman na nasa dorm, hindi rin naman makalabas.”
At first, Jarencio was concerned about the Tigers’ condition when they return to practice Friday, but eventually felt confident about it when they concluded Saturday afternoon’s practice.
“Siguro naman kung kami hindi nakapag-praktis, ‘yung ibang team hindi rin. At least, nakapag-pahinga rin 'yung mga players ko,” said Jarencio.
UST is playing in only its fourth game in four weeks and is coming off an 84-82 double overtime victory over La Salle last August 4.
Jarencio hopes the Tigers can continue their winning run as they go for their fourth win in five games.
“Hindi madaling manalo sa lahat ng teams sa UAAP. Lahat pahirapan ang mga games kaya each game, we treat it as a championship game,” Jarencio said.
The Red Warriors hope to bounce back after being walloped by four-time defending champion Ateneo, 68-51, last week.
Meanwhile, La Salle aims to break out of a slump when it faces Adamson at 2 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader originally slated Wednesday.
The Green Archers are on a three-game slide, capped by their disappointing 82-84 double overtime loss to the Tigers.
“I want to stay positive,” said La Salle mentor Gee Abanilla. “I saw the character of our team during the losses. It’s just that breaks didn’t come our way.”
Adamson, meanwhile, is trying to cope with the loss of star player Alex Nuyles, who will miss the rest of the season due to a dislocated right shoulder.
Despite a 1-3 win-loss record, Adamson coach Leo Austria remains confident about the Falcons’ chances this season.
“We still have 10 games to go. I think if we can win a game, things will turn around for us,” said Austria.
Meanwhile, host National University posted a twin kill in juniors and women’s basketball play on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Reggie Morido fired 19 points as the defending champion Bullpups routed University of the East, 78-59, to stretch their unbeaten streak to five.
Eden Alla’s marginal free throw in the waning seconds was enough for the Lady Bulldogs to stun the La Salle Lady Archers, 46-45, in women’s play and tie their victims at 3-2.
Raphael Atangan and Ralph Busa chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively, for NU, which broke away from a tie with Far Eastern University-Diliman (4-0).
In juniors play, University of Santo Tomas and La Salle-Zobel downed their respective foes to improve their juniors standing at 3-2.
The Tiger Cubs leaned on Alvin Ungria’s 31-point outburst to outlast the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, 83-77, while Renzo Subido shot 24 points as the Junior Archers hammered out a 78-69 victory over the Adamson Baby Falcons.
The Blue Eaglets slipped to a 2-3 card, while the Baby Falcons and the Junior Warriors went down to 1-4 and 0-5, respectively.