MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) miserable campaign in UAAP Season 80 hit a new low on Sunday, when it lost by a whopping 35 points to defending champion De La Salle University at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers routed the Growling Tigers, 94-59, with the players from España allowing La Salle to shoot 40% from the field. The defending champs scored 24 points of UST’s 24 turnovers, and grabbed 26 offensive rebounds to score 24 second chance points.
The loss dropped the Tigers – who are already out of the running for the Final Four – to 0-12 in Season 80. Moreover, it continued a truly awful streak of losses to La Salle. In the past two seasons, UST has lost to the Green Archers by an average margin of 36.25 points.
“Sobra,” UST guard Marvin Lee candidly said when asked if he was getting frustrated.
“Parang hindi ko nadadala ang kasama ko, hindi ako nakakatulong,” he explained.
Lee was averaging 12.3 points per game entering Sunday’s game against La Salle, but more than doubled his output, pouring in 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting against the Green Archers.
Unfortunately for Lee, he did not get much help. Steve Akomo was the only other Tiger in double digits with 14 points, and his usual running mate, Jordan Sta. Ana, managed only four markers on two-of-nine shooting from the field.
“Siyempre, down kami,” Lee said. “Pero iniisip lang namin, focus kami para mag-bounce back.”
There are only two more opportunities for UST to get that much needed “bounce back” win in Season 80. They play league-leading Ateneo de Manila University on November 4, then wrap up their elimination round campaign against University of the East on November 12.
For Lee, the specter of a 0-14 season only adds more pressure to him and his teammates.
“Sobra (‘yung pressure) kasi para sa akin, first time mangyari sa akin ang 0-14,” he said.
A winless season will not just be a first for Lee; it will also be a first for the storied UST basketball program. Even as his frustration mounts, however, Lee said they cannot afford to simply slack off in their final two games.
“Binibigay naman namin ang best namin lagi, pero ganoon talaga ang nangyari. Aral na lang para mag-improve,” he said. “Kami, alam namin na wala na ring chance (sa Final Four).”
“Dito na kami magpe-prepare for next year,” added Lee, in an effort to find a silver lining amidst their historically poor performance in Season 80.
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