UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Bong Dela Cruz rued the early foul trouble that hounded star player Ed Daquiaog that marred the Tigers’ first ever loss in the Season 78 of the UAAP against defending champion National University.
Dela Cruz said Daquiaog was not able to get in the groove after being assessed with two quick fouls in the game.
He did make a lay-up off a steal in the final 28 seconds to give the Tigers a 54-53 lead only for Alfred Aroga to sink a tough fadeaway shot to seal the Bulldogs’s breakthrough victory of the season.
"Foul trouble si Ed. Two fouls. Third quarter ko na siya pinasok tapos nag-commit siya ng foul,” Dela Cruz said of Daquiaog, who entered the game as the league’s leading scorer with an average of 24.3 points per game but finished with only nine markers.
“’Yung rhythm niya, nawala,” he said.
UST suffered its first loss of the season after a 3-0 start. Yet despite the defeat, Dela Cruz said he remained satisfied with the way the Tigers played as the outcome boiled down to the breaks of the game.
With Daquioag struggling, Kevin Ferrer took over for the team with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Karim Abdul added 11.
“Nandoon kami. Lumaban. Breaks of the game,” said Dela Cruz. “Lumaban naman ‘yung team pero masakit ‘yung talo. Bounce back na lang kami against Ateneo. Dito kami mag-gogrow.”
The UST coach also refused to comment on the travelling violation called on Abdul late in the game.
“Wala naman akong magagawa doon. Titignan na lang namin sa replay,” said Dela Cruz.