Finish strong and for the future – UST’s Sablan
by rick olivares
With one more match left in its UAAP Season 79 schedule – against the streaking and peaking Ateneo Blue Eagles – University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ head coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan, is urging his players “to finish strong and look to the future.”
The Growling Tigers tote a 3-10 record and with its youthful line-up have fallen out of the play-off picture after making the finals in three of the last four seasons. The University of the East has a 2-10 record with two matches at hand. Last Wednesday, November 9, UST took in on the chin with a 76-61 loss to Adamson. The Soaring Falcons’ triumph saw them clinch the last seat to the Final Four with the placing of second, third, and fourth seeds left to be determined. La Salle by virtue of its 12-1 slate, is assured of the top seed.
“In these final games, it is about trying to give everyone as much exposure as possible,” explained Sablan “I know that the veterans are trying their best as in the case of Louie Vigil. We appreciate that. We also have to also give the bench badly needed exposure for next season and beyond.”
The graduating players for this season include Vigil, point guard Jon Sheriff, and forward Kent Lao.
“I don’t want to make excuses for this season but there are times when you take what you have and try to make the most out of the situation. It hasn’t been easy for us but this can only make us better.”
The Growling Tigers are on a three-match losing skid highlighted by that 99-5 blowout loss to league-leading La Salle. Their last win was 73-69 over the National University that is also experiencing a similar skid.
“Except for La Salle, UE, and UP, all the other teams including us are in a rebuilding phase,” pointed out Sablan who is in his first year of coaching his alma mater. “Puro mga bata with a lack of experience. And that is what I am trying to give players like Zach Huang and Regie Basibas who didn’t get a lot of exposure before some badly needed playing time.”
“I ask that all UST fans and supporters to be patient because rebuilding is a process. With our resources, we aren’t the type of team to get it done overnight. But we will be back.”
The Growling Tigers play their swan song for this season against the Ateneo Blue Eagles this Saturday, November 12, at 2pm at the MOA Arena.