By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Cubs clinched the crown in the City Hoops Basketball 19-Under Inter-School tournament after a 66-39 rout of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Baby Tamaraws in the finals recently held at the Victoria Sports Tower in Quezon City.
Jayvee Lim surprised the opposition with a solid performance in the championship game to be hailed as the Finals Most Valuable Player, while Samuel Reyes was named as part of the Mythical Five.
The Manu Iñigo-led Tiger Cubs were on point in the opening quarter as they built a 17-9 advantage. It grew further to 38-17 in the second frame behind the outside snipping of Joaquin Ludovice.
The Tiger Cubs pulled away further in the second half as they held the Baby Tamaraws to just eight points in the third period.
UST went on to build its biggest lead of 27 points in the final quarter.
According to Iñigo, the Tiger Cubs’ championship in the tournament is a testament that they are now ready for the upcoming UAAP Season 86 junior basketball tournament next month.
“We are slowly getting to the peak of our preparation for the UAAP. We do not want to give any promises, but we will just continue to work hard to have a good campaign this season,” Iñigo said.
“Hindi ako tumitingin sa ibang schools. Lahat naman malakas. Pero ang pinaka-magiging kalaban namin, kami mismo. It’s UST. It’s how we’d be able to execute our plays, ‘yung chemistry ng mga luma at bago, [ang] level of maturity ng players,” he added.
Also part of the UST Tiger Cubs team are Kurt Velasquez, Carl Manding, RJ Verzosa, Koji Buenaflor, Renzo Zanoria, Andrei Dungo, Carson Vidanes, Alfred Loreto, Lance Ronquillo, Charles Esteban, Marc Ferrer, Charles Bucsit, and Aljen Kaw.
On their way to the championship round, the Tiger Cubs prevailed over the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers, while the Baby Tamaraws defeated FEU Baby Tamaraws B in the other semifinal game.
The Tiger Cubs finished fourth runner-up during the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament last year under former head coach Jinino Manansala./ASC, WDJ