UAAP Primer: UST all fired up to prove doubters wrong in bid to rise from the cellar
UST has nowhere to go but up after finishing in the bottom of the standings last season. Jham Mariano

THERE’S no way to go but up.

University of Santo Tomas coach Boy Sablan believes that after finishing at the bottom of the standings in the previous season, UST will bounce back stronger in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.

From a finals appearance in Season 78, the Tigers dropped to a miserable 3-11 win-loss card tied with cellar-dweller University of the East.

“Galing kami sa baba, sa bottom, wala naman kaming dapat puntahan kundi umakyat lang, we have to go up,” said Sablan. “We worked hard for this na [sana] makarating kami sa Final Four.”

The second year UST coach is fully aware of the criticisms thrown at him and the team online.

But Sablan just brushed off the issue and thanked his haters for the added motivation.

“Ang laking bagay ng nangyari na ‘yun dahil maipapakita namin ngayon ‘yung preparation namin compared to last year, which is ‘yun nga madami tayong mga hindi magandang narinig sa mga tao,” he said.

“Wala na, hindi na kami nagpapaapekto doon. Kasi hindi naman nakakatulong, actually ‘yan sisirain ka lang. Actually nakatulong nga sila sa amin, pinatibay nila kami ngayon,” he added.

The team, though, started off on the wrong foot with a heartbreaking loss to University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, due to a game-winning triple from Paul Desiderio. But given the fight UST showed, this season looks promising for the Growling Tigers. Here’s a glimpse of their preparation for Season 80.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada