THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers will return to the courts of the country’s premiere intercollegiate sporting event as a hungrier team under its new captain—Faculty of Arts and Letters’ Louie Philippe Vigil.
Coming from a heartbreaking loss last season, the newly-crowned King Tiger said the team is more eager to bring the elusive championship back to the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 host—UST.
“Ang goal namin [is] to win as many games as possible. Syempre kapag marami kaming mapapanalunan, makaka-final four kami. Tapos syempre, gusto naming manalo,” Vigil, who is an Asian Studies senior, told the Flame.
The Tigers’ shooting guard added, “Marami na ring nagsasabing galing kami sa finals pero mahina na ngayon. Sinasabi ko [na] wag nilang pakialaman ‘yun, basta maglaro kami nang maayos at makinig sa sasabihin ng coach.”
As the team captain, Vigil wants to maintain a close relationship with his teammates.
“Lagi kong tinanong kung ‘Uy, kumain ka na ba’ [o] kung nakauwi na sila. Hindi ko ‘to ginagawa noon. I check them out kasi para ito sa ikabubuti ng team,” he said.
Vigil, who is on his last playing year, also hopes that his teammates will step up this season and take the opportunity to grab the spotlight.
He assured the Thomasian community that he will always stand with the Growling Tigers despite the team’s underdog status. “Kahit anong mangyari, lagi akong handa na i-lead ang team.”
Earlier this year, Vigil and fellow Tiger Jamil Sheriff faced jeopardy after the UAAP board decided to lower the age limit of players from 25 to 24. But the league opted not to change the age rule anymore, giving the two veterans their one last shot at redemption.
Alongside former teammates Kevin Ferrer, Eduardo Daquiaoag, and Karim Abdul, Vigil led the Tigers’ campaign against Season 78’s men’s basketball champion, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
The Tigers will go against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles for its first game on Sept. 4, Sunday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY