MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) head coach Aldin Ayo lamented his wards' spotty decision-making in the fourth quarter of their game against Ateneo de Manila University, saying it was a function of his team's youth and inexperience.
The Growling Tigers gave the Blue Eagles all they could handle in their first game of UAAP Season 82, and were down by just one point, 68-67, with three minutes to go.
But both teams struggled to execute in the ensuing minutes, with UST's Renzo Subido, CJ Cansino, and Brent Paraiso all missing shots, while Gian Mamuyac, Matt Nieto, and Thirdy Ravena also misfired for Ateneo.
The Growling Tigers were finally forced to foul after Ange Koume rejected Soulemane Chabi Yo with 24 seconds left, and free throws from Ravena and Nieto helped Ateneo ice the game. The defending champions won, 71-70.
"It all boiled down to decision-making down the stretch. 'Yung maturity ng mga bata, medyo nagkulang doon sa stretch na, especially walang deadball, na up and down, up and down," said Ayo, referring to the long stretch where both teams exchanged missed shot after missed shot.
"We were not able to execute our game plan on those kinds of situations," he added.
It was not for lack of preparation as Ayo prides himself on keeping his team prepared for any development inside the court. The problem, he said, was their inexperience and youth that led to their inability to execute what they had prepared for.
"Lumabas 'yung pagiging bata," Ayo said.
"Nakita 'yung opportunity, even though hindi kasama sa game plan namin, they went for that opportunity," he added.
Ayo fully expects his players to learn from this game -- and to do so quickly. He said the Growling Tigers played well enough, and he was proud of their effort, but at the end of the game they lacked the composure to go against an experienced Ateneo team.
The lessons they learned from the Blue Eagles should serve them well, starting with Sunday's game against National University.
"Hindi ako naniniwala doon sa trust the process eh. Because every time you say that, you rely on trusting the process," said Ayo. "What I want is, they've got to learn right away."
"Of course, it will be a process, but don't lean on the process. Make sure that there's a result," he stressed. "I hope that we learned, we're going to learn from this, and hopefully come next game, we make right decisions, we make better decisions."
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