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    Former UST guard Japs Cuan's advice to Jon Sheriff on free-throw woes: 'It's all in the mind'

    Nov 26, 2015

    IT seems like history is repeating itself for University of Santo Tomas

    Nine years since the Tigers won the UAAP men’s basketball title behind a point guard who is a great playmaker but can't seem to make free throws, history has repeated itself for the Espana-based school with the continued struggle from the stripe of Jon Sheriff.

    Japs Cuan - a member of the Pido Jarencio-coached UST team that stunned Ateneo in the UAAP Finals - had gone through more or less the same experience as Sheriff who has become the target of the 'Hack-A-Sheriff' tactics by National University in the Final Four owing to his poor free-throw shooting.

    [See Sheriff unable to shoot straight, but coach keeps the faith]

    Cuan, therefore, is in the best position to give Sheriff advice, which is exactly what he did prior to Game One of the finals against Far Eastern Univeristy.

    "Actually, I talked to Sherrif (before the game) and I told him it was the same thing before during my time," Cuan related to during the series opener on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    “That time, the coaching staff wanted me to change my form kaya I told him, kung ano lang ang natural niya just keep on doing it. Kasi sa nakikita ko, napi-pressure siya kasi it's more mental naman eh,” Cuan stressed.

    [See Sheriff means business, polishes shooting stroke hours before Game One]

    The former UST starting guard encouraged the graduating playmaker to just believe in himself and draw confidence from the fact that his teammates are always behind him.

    Continue reading below ↓

    “Kasi nakita ko naman how he shoots free throws and he's making it,” said Cuan. “Siguro this year na-emphasize lang (ang free-throw struggles n'ya), so siguro pumasok sa ulo niya and he started changing his form.

    “I also told him na ibalik lang 'yung dati niyang (form) and confidence in himself, kasi I think suportado naman siya ng team even if he misses or not, and that's important."

    Some UST supporters suggested that the similarities between the two point guards as far as free-throw shooting is concerned may be a lucky sign for a school in search of its first UAAP championship since Cuan's time.

    Although not superstitious, Cuan welcomed the good vibes.

    “Well if it's a sign then it's a good sign," he said. "Kahit ano as long as we win the championship it doesn't matter.”

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