MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) has controlled its match-up with University of the Philippines (UP) in UAAP Season 82, but the Growling Tigers are well aware that they cannot afford to relax against the Fighting Maroons.
They swept their two elimination round encounters against UP, and further stamped their class against the Maroons with an 89-69 rout in their stepladder semifinal game last Sunday. That result allowed the Tigers to force a do-or-die for a spot in the Season 82 finals.
With a chance to advance to the finals for the first time since 2015, the Growling Tigers vowed not to be complacent -- especially against a talented UP squad that has some of the most explosive scorers in the UAAP.
"UP is a very talented team. They have good coaches, so honestly, hindi kami pwede talaga mag-relax," said UST's veteran point guard, Renzo Subido, who shredded the Maroons' defense for 12 assists in their game last Sunday.
"Any time, they can click as a team," he stressed.
Rhenz Subido, who scored 17 points in their win, said they won't break away from what has worked for them.
"Basta gagawin lang namin ‘yung mga dapat naming gawin, laruin namin ‘yung pinaka-best namin sa mga susunod pang game. Ayun lang," he said. "Basta, hindi kami nagku-kumpiyansa. More on focus lang, focus lang sa game."
The players are putting their full trust and confidence in head coach Aldin Ayo, who has so far proven to have all the answers for the Fighting Maroons so far this season.
Ayo, for his part, expects UP to make changes after they were comprehensively beaten in the first game.
"They're going to adjust," he predicted. "I think they're going to be physical."
"Sa akin, 'pag mga do-or-die game, nangyayari 'yun eh -- doing whatever it takes. But knowing them, wala namang madumi maglaro dun eh. Siguro kung ano man 'yung physicality, I think it will be part of basketball pa rin," he added.
"So, it will be tough for us because they’re going to adjust. Now magdedepende lang kung pano mag counter."
Game time is at 4 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena. The winner advances to play Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-3 championship series.
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