UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Bong Dela Cruz said his confidence in Ed Daquioag never wavered after the senior Tigers guard's dismal performance in a Game One loss to Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 78 Finals on Wednesday afternoon.
Daquioag, a fifth-year guard who had a season-high 34 points in an elimination-round win over University of the East, only had four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 29 minutes in the Tigers' 64-75 loss at the Mall of Asia Arena - a performance that immediately came under scrutiny from fans.
Emerging from the locker room after the loss, Dela Cruz put on a brave face and said they were not about to point a fnger at anyone after the Game One letdown.
"Walang sisihan sa family namin," he said. "As a family we are down, nangyayari 'yan, so kailangan i-regroup lang namin ang family namin ang kailangan maging happy kami."
Dela Cruz said his confidence in Daquioag was never dented after the dismal performance and h is counting on the Mythical Team member to bounce back in time for Game Two on Saturday at Araneta Coliseum.
And Daquioag needs to regain his confidence fast, the UST coach added.
"Kailangan niyang matuto doon sa game niya today and kailangan mabilis, kasi wala nang time eh para maka-recover siya kasi sa Saturday na (ang Game Two)," said dela Cruz.
"Si Ed babawi 'yan, kilala naman natin ang bata. Confident ako sa kanya. Last year, may confidence na ako sa kanya, ngayon pa ba mawawala yun? Syempre hindi," he added.
Dela Cruz described the atmosphere inside the UST dugout after the game, saying his wards were obviously devastated but not about to dwell on the loss with Game Two just three days away.
"Syempre malungkot ang team pero hindi kami pwedeng malungkot today, kasi meron pang Game Two then tomorrow we'll enjoy the practice para sa Saturday," he said.
"Very down sila, ganoon talaga kaya sabi ko lang sa kanila, today or ngayong oras na ito down, malungkot tayo okay lang 'yan, pero tomorrow sa practice kailangan happy na kami ulit," he added.