FOR a University of Santo Tomas squad that wound up sixth last season, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2015 might already be an achievement for its long-suffering España faithful.
But the No. 4 Growling Tigers have no plans of slowing down, according to coach Aldin Ayo.
“Mababa lang naman expectations namin. Sabi ko noong press con, may nag-interview sa akin kung ano goal namin for this season. We won five games last season so kung manalo kami ng anim that’s an accomplishment already. At least ‘di ba, may improvement because you’re talking about a young program here,” said Ayo.
“Since we won eight, may tatlong naidagdag, okay na iyon but of course we’re not gonna stop there because this is a competition. We’re going to strive,” he added.
UST squares off with third-ranked Far Eastern University today in a do-or-die duel as the stepladder semifinals of the 82nd UAAP basketball tournament get going at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The match is set at 4 p.m., with the winner taking on No. 2 University of the Philippines, which is armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis, on Nov. 10 at the same venue. The winner advances to the finals.
Defending two-time champion Ateneo clinched the first finals slot after posting a 14-0 sweep of the eliminations and awaits its challenger in a best-of-3 titular series kicking off Nov. 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tigers, who finished the eliminations with an 8-6 card, are coming off an 80-74 victory over Adamson University last Oct. 26.
UST will rely on MVP pacesetter Soulemane Chabi Yo, rookies Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy, and Renzo Subido, Brent Paraiso, and CJ Cansino in its bid to end a 13-year title dry spell.
The Tamaraws ended their eliminations campaign also with an 8-6 slate capped by a convincing 82-58 shellacking of University of the East last Oct. 27.