The Tigers won't diverge from a game plan that has worked for them all year, but they'll see if they can find a way to take the ball closer to the basket in Game 2. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Soulemane Chabi-Yo and the Tigers won't diverge from a game plan that has worked for them all year, but they'll see if they can find a way to take the ball closer to the basket in Game 2. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
MANILA—The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers rained down threes, as usual, to open the UAAP finals but it was not enough to upset the well-oiled and well-rested defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday.
UST knocked down 14 triples, seven of which came from reigning rookie of the year Mark Nonoy, on 41 total attempts for 34.15% shooting from downtown.
Head coach Aldin Ayo said 3-point shooting is much needed for any team that wants to beat Ateneo, because battling the Blue Eagles inside the paint will be a tough strategy to sustain.
"Kung titignan mo 'yung Ateneo, if you want to beat them, you really have to make those threes. Because if you don't, then papabalikin at papabalikin lang nila yung bola sa harapan mo," Ayo said.
Despite falling by 14 points in Game 1, the coach said he will still employ the same 3-pointer-centric game plan in Game 2 but will look for a little window, if there is any, to beat Ateneo.
"We are not going to change that. Titingnan din namin, but we'll stick with our system namin and, of course, palagi namang may butas 'yan. So we just have to look for those window na pwedeng ma-exploit," Ayo said.
UST allowed the Blue Eagles to score in 52% of shooting to lead in the entirety of the match and was never threatened from the get-go.
Meanwhile, Ayo downplayed the 32-point explosion of Thirdy Ravena, saying they will focus not only to the athletic forward of the Blue Eagles but to the entire Katipunan-based squad.
He, however, admitted that Ravena was their loophole in Game 1 especially in the transition defense.
"It's not about Thirdy only. If we want to stop them, well we have to stop the whole team. Kasi if you focus on Thirdy only, the other guys will step up also," Ayo explained. "He played well. I think this is his last year, right. Hopefully, we can cover him on Wednesday."
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