By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Reporter

For UAAP league leaders Growling Tigers and Tamaraws, work continues

Posted on October 09, 2015

LAST WEDNESDAY, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines capped off what has been a competitive first round of elimination play with both the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers and Far Eastern University Tamaraws topping the standings with identical 6-1 win-loss records.

But while it has been a fruitful campaign so far for the two University Belt schools, do not expect them to rest on their laurels just yet as they believe it is still a long season and that much work still needs to be done.

“All the teams are preparing and it is going to be the same with us. We are going to take it one game at a time. We are going out prepared each time,” said UST coach Bong Dela Cruz after notching their sixth win at the expense of the University of the East Red Warriors, 83-76, two days ago.

Mr. Dela Cruz, who has led UST to its best start in three seasons, said that in the second round they are expecting a tougher challenge for them after the kind of first round they have had, and that he hopes to get more consistent contribution from his other players, apart from key cogs Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer.

“We expect that the rest of the field will be concentrating on us. We have to keep our focus. I would like to see our other players like Kent Lao, Louie Vigil and Karim Abdul contribute consistently. We also have to play more defense, We’ll just see what happens,” the UST coach said.

For FEU’s Nash Racela, the order of battle for the second round is the same as the first -- keep their focus and win as many games as possible.

“We are in the top two [right now]. That is a positive. [But the] second round will be really, really tough as teams get better. It is something we have to prepare for,” the Tamaraw coach said.

In its last two games, FEU, although victorious each time, has been greatly challenged by the Adamson Falcons, 64-60, and National University Bulldogs, 61-59.

Mr. Racela, however, said they are not too concerned about it, even seeing it as something that should help them moving forward.

“Not really,” said Mr. Racela when asked by BusinessWorld if their close games of late have them worried.

“In the end it would help as improve. We need those kinds of game. Of course it is nice to have a comfortable lead at end games,” he added.

The second round of UAAP eliminations kicks off tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons facing off with Adamson at 2 p.m. and NU taking on UE at 4 p.m.