Flu can't stop Ferrer from torching Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran swingman Kevin Ferrer could not sleep the night before University of Santo Tomas' game against Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament on Saturday, September 27.
He may have been troubled, worried, or eager to get back on the court and bounce back from a tough 55-54 loss to defending champion NU Bulldogs a week earlier. But more than nagging thoughts, Ferrer, 22, struggled with sleep because he was feeling sick.
"Kagabi pa parang hindi ako makatulog, parang ta-trangkasuhin ako," Ferrer said after putting up his best game of the season so far to lead the Growling Tigers in a spirited comeback victory over the Blue Eagles, 68-58, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Pag gising ko sobrang sama talaga ng pakiramdam ko." (Last night I couldn't sleep, it was like I was going to have the flu. When I woke up I was not feeling very well.)
Flu and fever could not keep this Tiger down as Ferrer torched the Blue Eagles with 6-of-10 three-pointers and a career-high 27 points. He also had 9 rebounds and a steal.
"Kevin Ferrer 'to e, siyempre yung puso niya hindi mo na ma-question (This is Kevin Ferrer. You can no longer question his heart). He played sick today. He has fever so nilabanan lang niya yung nararamdaman niya (he battled through not feeling well)," UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz said after the game, Ferrer beside him with a towel over his neck.
Before the match, the Tigers team captain asked Dela Cruz to make him come off the bench, saying he is still gauging how he is feeling. But Ferrer put on a brave face and started anyway.
"Sinabi ni coach na labanan ko," said Ferrer. "Yun nilabanan ko and sa awa ng Diyos binigyan ako ng strength." (Coach told me to fight it. So I did and thank God he gave me strength.)
Ferrer's timely hot shooting spear-headed UST's fightback from 16 points down in the fourth quarter, where the Tigers out-scored the Eagles by 26-6. UST ultimately unloaded a 32-6 run versus Ateneo in the last 12 minutes of the game.
Back-to-back triples from Ferrer tied the game at 57 with 3:34 left to play, completely shifting momentum permanently to the side of the Espanya-based crew. He later fittingly sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
"Yung leadership talaga ni Kevin right now maganda (Kevin's leadership now is really good)," Dela Cruz commended Ferrer, who huddled up and brought together his teammates when faced with the huge deficit.
Ferrer is known to be quite a vocal and expressive leader for the Tigers. He is constantly seen talking to his teammates on the floor.
In the week leading to this game, Ferrer said he spoke to his teammates one by one and tried to dissect any problems that may have contributed to their loss to NU.
"Medyo nag-relax kami kasi parang nalagay sa amin yung 3-0," Ferrer admitted. "So ginawa ko as a leader, kinausap ko na yung bawat isa sa amin, yung team namin. Sabi ko ano bang problema, pag-usapan na. So naayos naman ngayon game."
(We relaxed somewhat because we were 3-0. So what I did was a leader was talk to each and every one of us. I encouraged them to talk about the problem. So we were able to fix it for this game.)
Hovering under the radar despite a veteran core, the Tigers surprised and started the season 3-0 before their first loss. They are now back on top of the standings with a 4-1 slate tied with last year's finalists FEU Tamaraws.
UST will next face the DLSU Green Archers on Wednesday, September 30 and Ferrer has no plans of settling.
"Hindi kami makukuntento kung anong meron kami," Ferrer assured. "Gusto namin higitan pa yun." (We will never be satisfied with what we have. We want to do better than that.) – Rappler.com