Last Friday, 57 days after suffering a bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals. The UST Growling Tigers got their revenge on the the team they lost to in the UAAP Finals this year, the Ateneo Blue Eagles as for the first time ever the Growling Tigers are the “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS” and the “BEST COLLEGIATE TEAM in the PHILIPPINES” this year as they win in the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals in Game 3 of the Finals series 81-76 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, taking the Finals series 2-1. Their win in the PCCL brought cheers to the Thomasian community who came out once again in full force at the Ynares Sports Arena and the Growling Tigers never disappointed the strong contingent in YELLOW, bringing them something to celebrate, after their tough defeat in the UAAP a few weeks back.
Jeric Teng led the Growling Tigers in Game 3 scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the critical fourth quarter, Kevin Ferrer added 21 points while Jeric Fortuna added 11 points in his final game in a UST Growling Tigers uniform.
Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe led the Blue Eagles with 20 points each, while Greg Slaughter who played his final game in a Blue Eagles uniform added 11 points.
After the game, in a show of sportsmanship. Karim Abdul traded jerseys with Slaughter and wore it as a tribute to the battles these two men faced in the last two years.
Teng was named the Finals MVP of the tournament, while Fortuna and Karim Abdul were named in the Mythical Five alongside Teng and Ateneo’s Ravena and Slaughter. While UST Head Coach Pido Jarencio was named Coach of the Year.
The Growling Tigers took home the Manuel V. Pangilinan Perpetual Trophy which they will keep for one whole year, as well as a replica of the trophy, and P700,000 worth of prizes for the school.
“Nakabawi din sa kanila.“ – Jeric Teng
“It’s nice to play our last game for UST with a championship.“ – Jeric Fortuna
“I’ve always wanted to have his (Slaughter) jersey.” – Karim Abdul
“This one’s for the UST community and the people who supported us all along.“ – Coach Pido Jarencio
UST (81) – Teng 22, Ferrer 21, Fortuna 11, Abdul 8, Bautista 7, Daquioag 6, Afuang 4, Mariano 2, Hainga 0, Pe 0, Lo 0
Ateneo (76) – Ravena 20, Buenafe 20, Slaughter 11, Salva 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 5, Sumalinog 3, Chua 1, Golla 0, Gonzaga 0
Yes! The Growling Tigers cap off 2012 with a BANG! A National Championship to cap off the careers of the two graduating players for the Growling Tigers in “The Captain” Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang. It is also a prelude of what is to come for the Growling Tigers next year as they will move on to preparations for UAAP Season 76 with a virtually intact core led by Jeric Teng, Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer.
For now, the Thomasian community can now savor the taste of victory the have long been waiting for to happen. Finally, as a Thomasian, I can savor a victory in basketball. After the bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals, I am very happy and delighted for not only these guys, but also to all my Thomasian PEEPS. FINALLY! We are the CHAMPIONS! With the victory, my FAITH in Philippine collegiate basketball has been RESTORED!