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    Tigers hoping for a graceful exit after Final Four hopes fade away, says Aljon Mariano

    Sep 7, 2014
    Aljon Mariano shot just 3-of-15 for University of Santo Tomas in its game against De La Salle. Jaime Campos

    ALJON Mariano expressed frustration at the way he played after University of Santo Tomas’ Final Four hopes fade with a loss to De La Salle on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball game.

    Mariano had six points and seven rebounds but shot just 3-of-15 from the field in a 60-67 loss that put the Tigers on the brink of elimination right in his final season with the team.

    Now, all UST could hope is for lowly University of the Philippines to beat Final Four-seeking National University on Sunday or kiss the team’s hopes of a third straight finals appearance goodbye.

    Mariano admitted he was frustrated with the way he missed several attempts that would have helped against La Salle in the game.

    “Open naman mga shots ko, hindi lang maka-shoot. Hindi ko alam kung bakit,” he said.

    Mariano also committed a costly turnover in the end game, losing the ball on a drive to the basket with the Tigers trailing, 63-60.

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    “Sa akin ‘yung turnover na ‘yun,” said Mariano when asked about the miscue late in the game. “Parang sinabi ni coach na pa foul ‘yung La Salle kasi three fouls pa lang sila at 27 seconds pa. In-expect ko na pa foul, pero hindi sila fumoul. Nadulas ata o natapik.”

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    Mariano was hoping for a better outcome of the game after the Tigers came to within four points with five minutes left in the game.

    “Medyo nandoon naman kami hanggang sa last five minutes. Medyo maaga lang kami na-penalty tapos kulang kami sa big man kaya tinake advantage nila,” said Mariano.

    The UST veteran also credited La Salle’s defense for his struggles.

    “Sa start, okay naman. ‘Yung second half, parang nag-tao-tao na sila sa akin. Hindi ako masyadong nakakuha ng bola. Buti na lang, maganda ‘yung laro ng mga teammates ko kaya binigyan ko na lang sila ng space na maka-drive or nag-a-assist na lang ako,” said Mariano.

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    Regardless of the outcome of the UP-NU game on Sunday, Mariano said the Tigers will play their hearts out in their remaining games.

    “This game pa lang, hindi na namin iniisip ‘yung Final Four. Play our hearts na lang at play for our team. Kahit anong mangyari, basta lumaban para graceful exit,” said Mariano.

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    Aljon Mariano shot just 3-of-15 for University of Santo Tomas in its game against De La Salle. Jaime Campos
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