UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas seeks a fitting follow-up to its rousing victory over Ateneo two days ago when it tackles University of the Philippines on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Growling Tigers pulled off a stunner over the defending four-time champions on Thursday, 71-70, in a game that saw them crawl back from as much as a 19-point deficit. The victory also snapped the Tigers’ 12-game losing skid against the Blue Eagles that spanned over five years.
UST coach Pido Jarencio, however, is guarding against complacency in the match against the Fighting Maroons as the Tigers play back-to-back games for the first time this season.
“Medyo dalawang sunod na game kami kaya mindset na lang ang preparation nito. Dapat maging focused ang mga bata kasi talagang morale boosting ‘yung panalo namin sa Ateneo,” said Jarencio.
The Tigers got a big boost from Aljon Mariano, who scored 13 of his career-high 21 points in the third quarter to spark their comeback from 19 points down in the second period.
UST is aiming for its second win in three outings in the 4 p.m. match-up as it tries to close in on La Salle, which occupies the top spot with a 2-0 (win-loss) record.
The Maroons are looking to bounce back from a 73-68 loss to La Salle last week which saw them held on to a one-point lead late in the game before rookie Jeron Teng bailed the Green Archers out of danger.
UP is also trying to break a 10-game losing skid that dates back to last season.
In the first game, winless teams Adamson and University of the East collide at 2 p.m.
Both teams will be looking at their second stringers to step up as they seek to notch their first win of the season.
The Falcons were drubbed by the Eagles, 73-57, a week ago with Eric Camson, Alex Nuyles, Rodney Brondial, and Roider Cabrera combining for 45 out of the Adamson’s total output.
On the other hand, Roi Sumang has been taking charge for the Red Warriors, averaging a league-best 20.5 points in their two losses, the last of which came at the expense of the Green Archers, 67-59, last Thursday.
However, Sumang is getting little support from teammates.