SPIN NOTES: Defense is UST's calling card, Louie Vigil an answered prayer for UST
The UST-NU showdown highlighted the Tigers' defense and the Bulldogs' lack of depth.

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas returns to the UAAP finals after beating National University in their Season 78 Final Four encounter over the weekend and Spin.ph cites four takeaways from that match heading into the Growling Tigers’ title showdown against Far Eastern University.

Louie Vigil as UST’s No. 4 guy

All season, UST coach Bong Dela Cruz has been hoping for consistency from Louie Vigil. He got his wish at last.

Vigil finally lived up to his potential by posting 19 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists to play a major in the Tigers’ win over the Bulldogs. It gave Santo Tomas a reliable fourth guy who could complement UST’s Big Three of Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, and Ed Daquioag entering the finals series.

UST can be really stingy on defense

Statistics do not really show how good a defensive team UST is but, on Sunday, the Tigers proved that. They limited the Bulldogs to just 55 points, way below the 69 points per game the team gave up during the eliminations. NU also shot a woeful 27 percent from the field. More importantly, UST held NU’s top scorer Gelo Alolino to only six points on a 1-of-17 clip from the field.

NU’s shallow bench

The Bulldogs fought hard to make it to the Final Four by pulling off a string of late victories. Eventually, the lack of firepower caught up with them. The Bulldogs felt the absence of a Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin-type of player big time as they couldn’t score when they needed it most.

'I hacked the Sheriff'

UST watched in horror as Sheriff trooped to the free throw line time and again in the final moments of the game. And in the few times the free throws went in, fans of the Growling Tigers wildly celebrated as if the team had already won a championship.

Netizens feasted on Sheriff’s awkward foul shooting stance and NU’s ploy of fouling him away from the ball. Our favorite goes to The Professional Heckler, who wrote “I Hack A Sheriff” in reference to the popular Bob Marley song that became a hit for Eric Clapton.

For UST fans though, it could be a good omen. Several netizens pointed out the last time UST had a poor free-throw shooting point guard in the person of Japs Cuan, the Growling Tigers made it all the way to the title in 2006.

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