UST's Karim Abdul reacts after blocking Ateneo's Arvin Tolentino. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas (UST) center Karim Abdul was visibly frustrated after the Growling Tigers lost a close contest to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 63-61, Wednesday in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament.
Abdul led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but he only attempted seven field goals against an Ateneo team that lacked height.
"I don't know if it was a great game because we lost in the end," said Abdul. "It was really hard for me. It's a really hard loss."
Abdul was clearly dissatisfied with how his teammates performed, starting with guard Ed Daquioag, who was guarding Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena in the final play when the Blue Eagle hit the game-winning shot.
"In the last play, Coach (Bong dela Cruz) said that once Kiefer receives the ball, the person on him should foul, so it was supposed to be Daquioag," said Abdul. "He was supposed to foul him immediately. I don't know (about) his presence of mind, state of mind at the time. He's the one who's gonna carry the blame."
"But it's not just Daquioag," Abdul said immediately, pointing out that UST is "a team with a lot of veteran players."
"John (Sheriff), Paolo Pe are not contributing," he added. "Actually all those little things that sum up to everything, that's why we lost in the end."
Abdul pointed out that Sheriff has been playing in the UAAP for three years now but it was rookie point guard Renzo Subido who got the minutes in crunch time.
"Some guys don't wanna accept the responsibility," Abdul said. "Paolo Pe, he's in his fifth year playing, he cannot play... it's really pitiful. For me it's really pitiful."
"Some players don't wanna play."
Abdul also seemed irate at the notion of just "bouncing back" in their next game, which will be against defending champions La Salle.
"I don't know what to say. Every day we say, 'bawi next game, bawi next game.' But it's the same mistakes," said the big man.
UST coach Bong dela Cruz, when asked about Abdul's frustrations, said it was only natural for the center to express his feelings after such a difficult game.
"Natural lang 'yun," said dela Cruz. "Galing sa hard game, nakita naman natin na lumaban talaga 'yung mga bata. Natural lang 'yung feelings na ganoon."
"Tomorrow, maayos na din 'yun," assured the coach.