MANILA, Philippines – After a disappointing loss to University of the East (UE) in their first game of the second round, University of Santo Tomas (UST) coach Kungfu Reyes admits that a Final 4 appearance is looking less and less likely for the Golden Tigresses.
UST finished the first round of the UAAP Season 80 tournament with a 2-5 win-loss record, but had a great opportunity to get their third win on Wednesday as they were taking on the Lady Warriors.
But instead of pouncing on UE, the Tigresses instead found themselves on the wrong end of a momentous upset as the Lady Warriors claimed a 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24 triumph. That extended UST's losing streak to four games, and dealt a brutal blow to their hopes of advancing to the semifinals for the second season in a row.
"Ito na 'yung pagkakataon sana namin na umakyat ng 3-5, pero iba ang nangyari. Nagbaliktad, so pare-pareho na kaming 2-6 ng UE," a frustrated Reyes said after the game.
A team usually needs eight wins to advance to the Final 4, meaning UST will need to win the rest of their assignments to have a chance. It is a very tall order, and Reyes knows it.
Thus, he acknowledged that a Final 4 appearance may just be out of the cards for the Golden Tigresses this year.
"Wala na akong pakialam doon, kung papasok ba kami ng Final 4. Kasi mas naging malalim ang dadaanan namin lalo, napakahirap," he admitted.
"Pero sana, huwag naman kaming maiwan sa dulo," he added. "Pipilitin pa rin namin at least sa remaining games namin na guluhin lang namin ang standing."
"Baka sakaling umakyat pa kami."
Reyes believes that their upcoming game against Far Eastern University on March 14 will make their break this season. If they pull off an upset against the Lady Tamaraws, they still have hope of possibly forcing a playoff for a semifinals spot.
It will be the first of six must-win games for the Golden Tigresses. One more slip, and they will be out of contention for the Final 4.
"Doon made-decide," Reyes said of their game against FEU. "Doon na makikita kung ano ang mangyayari."
"So hangga't 'di pa nagsasara ang Season 80, kung ano't ano man ang pupuntahan ng pagta-trabaho namin ngayong season na 'to, siguro naman malaking aral para sa pagbalik sa susunod na mga laro pa," he added.
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