Free throw discrepancy hurts Tigers’ chances in crucial match against Archers, says UST coach De la Cruz
Bong de la Cruz mentions the number 39 at least seven times in the post-game interview. Jaime Campos

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Bong de la Cruz could not help but talk about the number of free throws La Salle attempted in the game as the Tigers’ Final Four hopes slipped away.

“’Yung La Salle nabigyan ng 39 free throws. ’Yun lang. 39 free throws is 39 free throws,” said De la Cruz, upset with some of the calls as his Tigers were given just 17 shots from the stripe.

The Tigers bowed to the Archers, 67-60, on Saturday and their win-loss record dropped to 5-7. Now, they hope that University of the Philippines would pull off an upset over National University on Sunday to keep their Final Four hopes alive.

When asked if officiating played a role in the number of free throw attempts, De la Cruz said “Part na rin siyempre. Bigyan ka ng 39 free throws. Siyempre magkakaroon ka ng advantage.”

“39 free throws ’yung binigay. Kayo na ang bahala. Mahirap manalo kung bibigyan ka ng 17 free throws against 39 free throws,” said Dela Cruz.

Kevin Ferrer, who watched in plain clothes on the bench, wanted to discuss the game but struggled with his words as he tried to avoid talking about the officiating, asking scribes to just interpret his statement.

“Pinakita namin doon na kaya namin. Pero kayo na ang bahala doon. Siyempre kita niyo naman. Lahat naman tayo kung ano ‘yung laro, at ’yung mechanics ng laro. No comment na lang ako doon,” said Ferrer.

When asked directly if he was pertaining to the officiating, Ferrer only said “Alam niyo na ’yun.”

De la Cruz was impressed with the way the Tigers played as they fought for their lives even without Kevin Ferrer and Louie Vigil, who was suspended for the game due to his second unsportsmanlike foul of the season.

“’Yung mga players, they played with their hearts out. Gusto talaga nilang manalo. Maganda ’yung linaro nilang lahat despite na wala si Kevin Ferrer and Louie Vigil, nag-step up silang lahat,” De la Cruz said.

“But at the end of day, pag tinignan mo sa stats, they were given 39 free throws,” he added.

With their Final Four hopes resting on a victory by UP, Dela Cruz said he is only hoping for the best.

“Sana manalo UP siyempre, para mabigyan pa ng chance,” said Dela Cruz with a smile.

“Ang UST kasi kailangan every game, lumaban kami. ’Yung pride ng Tomasino, kailangan every game, nandiyan. Hindi na namin tinignan ’yung Final Four or what. Basta every game, kailangan naming manalo,” Dela Cruz said.


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