UAAP Basketball

Glory in gutter: UST Growling Tigers now on all-time-low 18-game losing streak

Philip Matel

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Glory in gutter: UST Growling Tigers now on all-time-low 18-game losing streak

TROUBLED. UST head coach Pido Jarencio argues with a referee in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

What has happened to the proud and mighty UST Growling Tigers men's basketball team?

MANILA, Philippines – Synonymous with success in UAAP men’s basketball, the mighty UST Growling Tigers have hit their lowest point.

Boasting 18 championships, the second-most behind the FEU Tamaraws, which have 20, UST is currently mired in a prolonged lull.

Incidentally – they have lost 18 straight games – which now is the longest losing skid in the team’s history, surpassing their 17-game slide from 2016 to 2017.

The latest was a 110-79 shellacking against the UP Fighting Maroons last Saturday, October 14, themselves former perennial cellar dwellers which have turned things around to become one of the most powerful collegiate teams today.

UST, which started off on the right foot in Season 85 with a 66-60 stunner against Adamson behind Nic Cabañero’s 33 points on October 1, 2022, has lost every game since by an average margin of 14.5 points.

Included in the setbacks were two 30-point blowouts, three between 20 to 29, eight between 10 to 19, and one game where the team blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter, falling short by a bucket.

Up next for the Tigers are defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, October 18, 10 am.

The Blue Eagles are motivated as well, after being shell-shocked from a 66-61 overtime loss to erstwhile winless FEU.

Long road ahead

After two UAAP Finals appearances in 2013 and 2015, which both ended in heartbreaking fashion in a winner-take-all Game 3, the Tigers found themselves in rebuilding mode under the tutelage of former player and assistant coach Boy Sablan.

The losing streak, which started on October 23, 2016, a 99-56 goring by La Salle, saw its final defeat, a 102-83 thumping against eventual champion Ateneo on November 4, 2017.

In these series of losses, the Tigers yielded to the opposition by an average of 14.3 points, including a 43-point loss, a 35-point beating, two losses between 20 to 29 points, and six losses between 10 and 19 points.

UST avoided its first winless season in history when it hacked out an 88-85 escape against the UE Red Warriors on November 12, 2017.

Since that 1-13 near-winless season, UST saw a massive overhaul of its team, obtaining key pieces such as CJ Cansino, Soulemane Chabi Yo, and Rhenz Abando, and were coached by Aldin Ayo, who led Letran and La Salle to titles through his famed “Mayhem” defense and complex offensive schemes.

After a promising Season 81 derailed by Cansino’s ACL injury, the Tigers, led by MVP Chabi Yo, upset twice-to-beat UP in the Final Four, but fell to the undefeated run of Ateneo in the championship series.

Projected as a force to be reckoned with the following seasons, the team was unfortunately broken up due to a controversial training camp in Sorsogon held during the height of the pandemic.

Both Cansino and Abando had since won titles with UP and Letran, respectively, while UST scrambled to a 3-11 record under Jinino Manansala in Season 84 in 2022.

After Bal David’s one-season stint with his alma mater in Season 85, beloved ex-head coach Pido Jarencio returned to the fold during the offseason.

He coached the last Tigers championship team in 2006 and mentored the players to two more title appearances in 2012 and 2013.

UST brought home the Philippine Collegiate Champions League crown in 2012 against Ateneo, their last major crown.

Now backed by the country’s biggest conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation, UST seeks to obtain resounding success connected with its numerous teams.

Even before the start of the season, Jarencio was quick to quell expectations.

“Makapanalo lang ng isa, goal na namin ‘yun. Pangalawa, sobra na ‘yun!” Jarencio quipped last September 27.

(Our goal is to just win one game. Two is already too much!)

A supportive school awaits. –

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