MANILA, Philippines—A one-year sabbatical from University of Santo Tomas is paying off for veteran point guard Renzo Subido, as he has now led the Growling Tigers to a Finals appearance in UAAP Season 82.
Subido skipped the 2017 collegiate season and sat out the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament, instead opting to sharpen his skills in the PBA D-League. The Growling Tigers struggled mightily that year, winning just one game under the guidance of head coach Boy Sablan.
He returned the next year after Sablan's exit, and found renewed confidence with Aldin Ayo at the helm of the squad. In Season 82, Subido established himself as the veteran leader of the Growling Tigers, averaging over 8 points on top of 3.5 assists and 2 rebounds per game, while shooting nearly 36% from behind the arc.
"It was a tough decision, the fact na you're leaving, you're leaving the UAAP," Subido noted.
Subido played for AMA and Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League, and he said those stints ultimately helped him improve ahead of his return to the Growling Tigers.
"That's one sacrifice I had to make para maging ganito 'yung performance ko," explained Subido.
"It really helped me a lot. I learned a lot from a lot of coaches, from the Banal brothers, maraming mga tumutulong sa akin na very good in basketball," he added, referring to veteran coaches Joel and Koy Banal who mentored him in Marinerong Pilipino.
He was also grateful to his veteran teammates, such as Denok Miranda and Mark Isip, who took him under their wing.
"They've been in the professionals already, so marami ako natutunan sa kanila," he said.
Subido's improvement is evident not just in his skills but also in his confidence. He has become UST's No. 1 option in the clutch this year, and has responded with a bevy of big shots for Ayo and the Tigers.
Against University of the Philippines in the stepladder semifinals, Subido nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with 23 seconds to go that eventually pushed the Tigers to a 68-65 triumph -- and their first Finals appearance since 2015.
He will be counted upon to provide stability and leadership once more when the Tigers take on the unbeaten Ateneo Blue Eagles in the best-of-3 finals, which starts on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
"Ateneo is really a tough team, so kung ano 'yung effort and hard work na inexert namin in preparation for UP, we're gonna have to really double it against Ateneo," said Subido.
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