Friday, September 11, 2009

UST in the Final Four: A Matter of Perspective

By Patrick Leonard Mayo

Finally! The UST Growling Tigers barge into the Final Four (with a little help from their Sampaloc neighbors), and the hopes for a second title in four years are very much alive. But UST's performance thus far, presents two contrasting sides.

One could view their season as an overachieving one, being out of the Final Four radar in the preseason. Some pundits even pegged them to two or three wins this season, max. So we all should be happy and contented with their performance despite entering the semis with a losing record (6-8) and already concede the first game of the semis to the defending champions.

On the other side of the coin, their ticket to the Final Four bus could be viewed as the first step to a repeat of the miracle run in season '69. The Tigers could use their underdog tag to their advantage. Everyone expects the Blue Eagles to dispatch of them on Sunday, easily. But if they could at least surprise the champs with a never-say-die attitude right from the start, they might catch them off-guard and steal Game 1. We all know that anything can happen in a rubber match where all the stats are thrown out of the window.

But it's really up to them. We could all cheer our hearts out next Sunday but if they will play half-hearted, then they should just hand over the win to the Eagles. But if they will play like there is no tomorrow, (which is what will happen if they don't give their alll), if they will play as a team with one goal and at least keep the game close in the end game, an upset win is very likely to happen. They should strike fear in the eyes of the Blue Eagles right from the buzzer and show them that they've got to get past the mighty, mighty Tigers before they talk of back-to-back titles. UST is not far from Ateneo in terms of talent, all they need to do is forge their talent and play solid defense for 40 solid minutes.

Dylan, show everyone that you are the King Tiiger, the league MVP. Khasim, show them that you are indeed a man with aim and precision. Chris, show Nonoy how it is to play rock-solid defense. Jeric F., run the offense with smoothness and steal that ball from the "man of steal", Jeric T., get ready to be fouled hard and complete that "and-1" play. Clark, burn their zone defense with your three-point bombs. To the bench mob, play quality minutes. Contribute in any way possible.

It's all a matter of perspective. Do we want to be contented or do we want to go all the way to the championship?

Friday, September 4, 2009

A breakdown of UST's journey to the Final Four

A breakdown of UST's journey to the Final Four
Season 72
By Patrick Leonard Mayo

Truly a heartbreaking loss for the Tigers. A win yesterday could have settled their Final Four destiny and ended La Salle's season as well. There may have been a ton of questoinable calls from the refs but I'd still give credit to La Salle. Sabi nga ni UST Team Manager Clarence Aytona, the Archers played one hell of a game.

Now on to more complicated matters since yesterday's outcome really complicated things. Keep in mind the current standings of UST (6-6) and DLSU (5-7). Here are the possible scenarios that the Tigers might be facing in the coming days:

Scenario No. 1-If UST wins their last two games against AdU and UE, (they will end up with an 8-6 record) and the Archers sweep their last two games against FEU and NU (giving them a 7-7 record), then UST will advance to the FF. So in short, UST needs to sweep their last two games to secure the last FF slot regardless if La Salle sweeps or not.

Scenario No. 2- If UST wins one and drops one and DLSU sweeps their last two games, they will end up with identical 7-7 records which will result into a do-or-die knock out match for the last FF spot.

Scenario No. 3- If the Tigers drop their last two games and the Archers win one and drop one, they will be tied at 6-8, ergo, another knock out match between the two. We know that the Tigers would love to aviod scenario number 2 and 3 because we all know the pressure they'll be facing in a knock out match and it's not just against a regular opponent, It's La Salle. No matter how weak they seem to be this season, La Salle is still La Salle. Tried and tested na ang system nila and ANYTHING can happen in a knock out match.

Scenario No. 4 - The worst thing that could happen. UST fails to win another game and DLSU sweeps their last two. UST ends up at 6-8, DLSU at 7-7, Archers advance to the Final Four.

UST will be facing Adamson this coming Sunday and UE on Thursday. The Falcons may be struggling this season but we have to keep in mind that the losses of the Falcons were decided by 5 points or less and their first encounter with the Tigers was decided by a single point. One of the hardest teams to beat is a team who is playing with nothing to lose. Adamson will be playing the spoilers role and they should be taken very seriously.

UE on the other hand is peaking at the right time. In my personal power rankings, I would rank them second to the Ateneo Blue Eagles. They have showed poise in the end game and are slowly erasing their tag as the league's perennial chokers. They still have a legit shot at grabbing the second spot and we can expect them to come all out in their remaining games.The Tigers need our support so let's go to the venues and cheer our hearts out.

Go USTe!!!