UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA -- With their hopes of making the Final Four dwindling, University of Santo Tomas (UST) head coach Bong dela Cruz called on his players to exhibit "Thomasian pride" and heart as they enter the home stretch of the UAAP Season 77 tournament.
UST absorbed a 58-69 setback at the hands of Ateneo on Saturday, which put their record at 5-6 with just three games to go in the elimination round.
"'Yung execution noong fourth quarter, masyado kami nagtitira sa labas eh," said dela Cruz, noting that they were unable to take advantage of Ateneo being in the penalty with over four minutes left.
"Pero andoon pa rin kami sa game noong third quarter, andoon pa rin. 'Yung fourth quarter lang," he added.
Admitting that the mood in the locker room was "sad," Dela Cruz said his players must now exhibit the pride and heart that became their rallying cry back when Pido Jarencio was still coaching the team.
"Ang kailangan namin ay 'yung pride namin eh. 'Yung puso, 'yung pride, 'yun ang lagi naming pinag-uusapan. Basta lumaban lang kami ng lumaban. Meron pang pag-asa, pero slim na, so laban lang," he said.
Asked if he still sees his players exhibiting that pride, Dela Cruz said: "Kailangan hindi mawala sa amin 'yun."
"Kapag nawala 'yun, siyempe parang hindi na sila Thomasian d'yan. Kailangan, andoon pa rin 'yung Thomasian pride, 'yung puso. Kailangan andoon parati 'yun," he added.
"Win or lose, kailangan nand'yan 'yun."