University of Santo Tomas star Nic Cabañero vowed to keep working hard and trusting the system after absorbing its 19th straight loss in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
On Oct. 1, 2022, the 20-year-old guard entered the UAAP with a promising debut following a career-high explosion of a 33-point line to lead UST to its last victory over Adamson in the opening game of the Season 85.
After the momentous win, it was all downhill from there as the Growling Tigers went on to lose 13 straight games to end the season with that lone victory.
Under the returning head coach Pido Jarencio, the school’s last championship mentor, UST continued to slide in 19 games, its longest in the school history following its 97-77 defeat against defending champion Ateneo on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Amid the painful string of defeats, Cabañero and the rest of the squad remained hopeful as they trust in the system and in each other.
“I think ‘yong hope is andiyan pa rin. We made a lot of mistakes, I think we need to improve and tiwala lang kami sa isa’t isa. Parang masakit din sabihin na nada-down kami. Pero laban pa rin kami kasi hindi pa naman tapos ‘yong season,” said Cabañero, who once more, paced UST in that defeat with a 21-point finish.
For Cabañero, the hurt comes from his school pride as he wishes to someday leave a lasting legacy for UST through his collegiate career.
“Siyempre masakit kasi kasama ako doon eh. ‘Yong mga teammates ko doon kasama rin from last year. From my first year up until sa third year ko ngayon, sobrang nasasaktan kasi ako, like, personally kasi sobrang mahal ko ‘yong UST. Doon ako nag-graduate ng senior high school, hopefully, gusto ko rin maka-leave ng legacy sa school kahit papaano together with my teammates,” Cabeñero said.
“Kasi ako ang goal ko lang naman talaga is manalo eh. I think lahat naman ng teams ganoon din iyong goal,”
“So I think kailangan lang talaga naming mas mag trabaho pa and trust the system. Tiwala lang kami sa isa’t isa,” he added.
As the Growling Tigers try to solve the puzzle and make a breakthrough this season, Cabañero wants the squad to be more connected and not lose hope in the face of adversity.
“Hindi ko rin masabi in terms of mindset kasi ang masasabi ko lang talaga may kanya kanya kaming personal na attitude. For example, makaka-run ‘yong kalaban parang bababa ‘yomg morale namin which is pangit talaga ‘yong gano’n. Kasi hindi pa naman tapos ‘yong laro dapat i-lift up na talaga namin iyong isa’t isa. Para mas makapag-connect pa kami,” he concluded.
With a 0-6 record in the season so far, UST looks to end its first round campaign when it tackles the streaking Far Eastern University (2-4), who is relishing its back-to-back victories including a stunning 66-61 overtime escape over Ateneo.
Both squads face each other on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph