Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Smart-Araneta Coliseum
October 2, 2013
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Oh I love this movie. Whether or not its related to the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, I don’t know. I just love anything martial arts. And I want to talk about the pontifical school surrounded by Dapitan and Espana, rivers when its raining, streets when its dry.
And that is because UST closes in on history. Similar to the Ang Lee-directed movie, the Tigers crouched, hid before springing a surprise at La Salle and escaped with a 73-72 victory to inch closer to a date with UAAP destiny. And the skies just turned yellow. The rest, green with envy.
So the Tigers now hold a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three Season 76 championship series. One more win in Game Two on Saturday at this same venue and its over. Game Three, if necessary, is on Oct. 12 at the MOA Arena.
Why UST won?
Let us count the ways.
Kevin Ferrer was clutch. He knocked in 20 points including a clutch triple that gave the Tigers enough cushion to weather a late fightback by the Archers. He also starred in the first half when UST erected a 17-point lead. He was perfect from everywhere that first two quarters.
Karim Abdul played like Jabbar. He had 19 points including a pair of jumpers when Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres decided to nopt go out to defend the perimeter anymore. The Cameroonian spiked his solid effort with 12 rebounds and two blocks, including that one on LA Revilla at the buzzer that preserved the win.
Jeric Teng has fire in his eyes. He didn’t want to end his collegiate career without a title. He’s determined to take this series and win his crown on his last season. He had 17 points, seven boards and three assists. He celebrated in each and every one of those stats. You could see it in his eyes how he wants this.
Sheak Sheriff turned the tables on Bob Marley. No one shot the sheriff, he’s the one doing the shooting. And boy, he shot down the Archers in every conceivable way. Yes he finished with just six points, five caroms and three assists. But if you count the intangibles, his performance is equivalent to a quadruple-double.
Pido Jarencio was at his usual best. The Tigers executed their game plan to near perfection. They came in relaxed and built an early advantage. La Salle rallied but thanks to his rotational brilliance, UST managed to turn the tide.
Why La Salle lost?
A bad start did the trick. They missed 24 of their 37 shots in the first half. They missed 24 of the 35 shots they attempted in the second. All in all, that’s a miserable 45 misses. Imagine if they had made at least just one, then La Salle would’ve been the one celebrating instead.
La Revilla is gun shy. Only four points. And that’s a story in itself there.
Lack of championship experience reared its ugly head. Obviously, La Salle felt the championship jitters at the start of the game. They bricked shots that they used to make. They just felt the pressure, PERIOD.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Jeric Teng says it well, “there’s no substitute for experience.” Pido Jarencio concludes it better: “Inuman na ng San Miguel.”
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

(Photo by Paul Ryan Tan)


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