THE UST Growling Tigers averted a winless season by notching their first victory on their final game of the season against the UE Red Warriors, 88-85, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Oliver De Guzman sank two freebies to seal the game after JC Cullar’s layup pulled UE to within one with four seconds left, 86-85.
“Siyempre masaya [ako] kasi hindi kami na 0 [wins] and at the same time heto ‘yung part ng rebuilding process namin,” head coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan said.
Team captain Marvin Lee said the win felt as if they won a championship game.
“Masarap ‘yung feeling na nanalo. Parang nag-champion na kami pagdating doon…’yung mga nangyari samin [sana] maging aral sa amin at inspiration para sa next season,” he said.
The Tigers ended their 17-game losing streak dating back to last season and finished with a 1-13 win-loss record.
The last time UST won was against the National University on Oct. 15, 2016.
The Tigers finished the season with just one win for the first time in the Final Four era, reaching a new low after mustering three wins last year.
UST’s one-win season is the fewest since the team won two games in 1989.
Five Tigers scored in double-figures led by Reggie Basibas’ 21 points, nine rebounds and three steals while Steve Akomo hauled 18 markers and 20 boards.
Lee, Eric Caunan and Christian Garcia also combined for 35 points.
The Tigers uncorked a late run in the first half to take an 11-point lead before UE surged back to cut the deficit to four, 43-39.
UST enjoyed an early 23-9 lead in the first quarter to gain the biggest margin at 14.
Alvin Pasaol paced UE with 18 markers and five steals while three other Warriors scored in double-digits.
The Tigers will remain intact with only big man Jeepy Faundo leaving the team after exhausting his playing years.
THE UST Growling Tigers are looking for a new coach to replace Boy Sablan, who was finally sacked following a 1-13 UAAP season.
Sablan, who won only four games in two years as UST coach, will be out effective Nov. 30, Rector Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. told the Varsitarian.
Dagohoy did not say if the entire coaching staff would be replaced.
“In spite of the unsuccessful season for the Tigers, we thank them for their contributions to our program,” he said in a text message.
Dagohoy said UST was still in the “process of determining who the (next) coach would be.”
Growling Tigresses assistant coach Arsenio Dysangco Jr. will facilitate practices for the Tigers until a new coach is named.
Sablan’s replacement will be named by the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, he said.