THE problem lies within them, admitted coach Bong Dela Cruz after University of Santo Tomas Tigers' lopsided loss to National University in its opening match in Season 77 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Runner-up the past two years, the Tigers had a disappointing start to their campaign following a 59-40 setback to the Bulldogs. Dela Cruz said the Tigers had nothing to blame but themselves.
“’Yung sarili namin ang naging problema namin,” said Dela Cruz of his coaching debut with the school.
Against the Bulldogs, Dela Cruz said the Tigers failed to execute on offense.
“Three assists lang kami. Kailangan naming i-work out ‘yung execution namin. Rebounds, wala kaming problema. Sarili namin ang problema,” said Dela Cruz.
UST is adopting a new system under Dela Cruz following the resignation of longtime coach Pido Jarencio, who is now with Globalport in the PBA.
But during the game, Dela Cruz said the team failed to play under his system.
“Wala pa. Talagang totally, nawala kami sa sistema. Ball movement, nawala,” said Dela Cruz.
UST star Kevin Ferrer agreed with Dela Cruz, saying the Tigers have yet to completely grasp the new plays under their new coach.
“Medyo magulo pa kami,” said Ferrer. 'Yung iba hindi pa alam yung spots nila. First game pa kasi, ngayon lang talaga nagkasama-sama, bago lahat. Pero move on na kami,” Ferrer said.
Dela Cruz, however, believes it’s not the time to push the panic button as UST seeks to bounce back against University of the East on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Mga veteran naman sila. Alam nila ‘yung mistakes nila. They have to work hard para next game, maka-bounce back against UE,” said dela Cruz.