The Games That Play Us: Rising Subs

Kim Lo provided a significant spark as the
Growling Tigers nailed their fifth win in six games.
(image from


It continues to be a different hero every time for Coach Pido Jarencio and his Tigers. It was Tata Bautista against DLSU, Louie Vigil and Kevin Ferrer versus UE, and, on this day, the hero who donned the cape was St. Jude alumnus and former Tiong Lian star, Kim Lo.

Lo, one of Coach Pido’s rising subs, kept UST’s heads above water in the first half, where the Black & Gold visibly struggled to find any rhythm. They allowed UP to generally dictate the tempo en route to a 33-all score at the half. The Tigers, who were on a 4-game winning streak, allowed the Maroons to outrebound them, 21-18, with the Diliman five netting 7 second-chance points against just the 2 of UST.

It was still anybody’s ballgame at that point, but it was clear the España quintet was in the middle of another grueling contest. As most of his other teammates struggled, however, Lo shone, scoring 8 of his 11 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and netting 3 steals in the first 20 minutes of play. It was his time, and he wasn’t going to let UP spoil it.

Lo was a bona fide star in high school. He was known as a do-it-all forward-center for a St. Jude team that had a resurgence of sorts after years of futility. Together with fellow Judenite stalwarts, Darrence Lam and Jason Ligad (now, ironically, with UP), Lo led St. Jude to the Tiong Lian Finals for two straight seasons – in 2009 & 2010. It wasn’t unusual to see him post double-double numbers, which eventually helped his stock rise after graduating. He wasn’t a highly-publicized recruit out of high school, but Coach Pido saw something in Lo that enabled him to crack the Tigers’ roster in Season 73. He wasn’t a vital cog of the team immediately, but now, with the absence of former Tiong Lian rival Jeric Teng, Lo has a golden chance to shine.

(Note: Aside from Lo and Teng, UST has other prized Tiong Lian recruits in its current roster – Janrey Garrido and Errol Villar of Hope Christian, and Robin Tan of Xavier. UST, in fact, has had a storied history recruiting from the Tiong Lian ranks. Among the more famous ones are Gilbert Lao from UNO and Christian Luanzon from St. Stephen’s.)

Lo would go on to score only three more points as the second half got underway, but his activity on both ends helped UST put some separation between themselves and the gritty Iskos.

During this time, the Tigers went to their well, Karim Abdul, who scored 13 of his 20 markers in the last 20 minutes. He was practically unstoppable down low, despite the best efforts of Coach Ricky Dandan’s frontline enforcers – Cris Ball, Raul Soyud, Alinko Mbah, Diony Hipolito, and Paolo Romero. Bautista also caught fire here, scoring 5 points in the dying minutes to help ice the game.

This victory bumps UST into a tie for first place with FEU and Ateneo, both of whom are set to have a titanic tussle tomorrow, Saturday. With Adamson left as the only remaining opponent in the first round, it is expected that UST will go 6-1 and have the inside track to a Final Four berth. Of course, somewhere down the road, Jeric Teng will return to add even more firepower to an already explosive crew, so Coach Pido is probably glowing while thinking of the possibilities.

On the other end, UP remains as the only winless team in Season 75, but that should change soon enough when they tackle UE this weekend. The Maroons, despite what their standing might suggest, aren’t out of the Final Four race yet. A win versus the Reds will certainly help them psychologically, and that might be the big difference in the second round when they have rematches with the teams that had barely beaten them before. Ironically, they don’t have to look far for inspiration, as it was UST who made one of the most memorable turnarounds in UAAP history when they won the 2006 title after winning just two games in the first round.

Karim Abdul dominated in the second half to
lead UST over UP.

Mike Silungan continues to blow hot and cold in Season 75.

UST 68 – Abdul 20, Bautista 12, Lo 11, Fortuna 10, Vigil 7, Mariano 4, Ferrer 3, Afuang 1, Pe 0, Daquioag 0
UP 58 – Silungan 10, Lopez 10, Asilum 9, Ball 7, Mbah 5, Soyud 4, Manuel 4, Padilla 3, Romero 2, Montecastro 2, Hipolito 2, Wong 0
QS: 16-15, 33-33, 50-45, 68-58
Notable Performers:
Karim Abdul (UST) – 20pts, 12rebs, 2stls, 2blks, 1ast
Kim Lo (UST) – 11pts, 8rebs, 3stls, 1ast
Mark Lopez (UP) – 10pts, 7rebs, 2asts

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