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Tigresses dedicate UAAP title to coaches

MANILA, Philippines -- To topple a perennial champion, one should have great preparation and the right motivation.

For the UST Growling Tigresses, they were able to find both.

Fighting for a shot at history, UST dedicated their Game 3 to one of their coaches -- Clem Pastor.

The assistant coach is undergoing chemotherapy, Finals MVP Tantoy Ferrer said, which is why the team put tapes on the right side of their jersey with “Clem” written on it.

“The [name here] on the right side of our jerseys… we played in the championship game, and Coach Clem is undergoing chemo. So, we are offering our game to the coach,” Ferrer said.

The Tigresses stormed back from as much as 15 points down and seized the championship away from the eight-peat-seeking NU Lady Bulldogs, 71-69, Wednesday afternoon.

It was a cardiac finish, as UST only took the lead with mere seconds left in the game.

“And, hopefully, coach recovers. We are here and we played hard because [Pastor] motivates us in practice. Which is why we are really exhausted,” Ferrer bared.

Aside from the “Clem” on the right side of their jerseys, the team also had the initials of head coach Haydee Ong -- HMO -- on the left side.

“I told my teammates, we played for Coach Haydee and Coach Clem. And, we won the championship.”

The graduating Tigress averaged 15.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the best-of-three series as she took home the Finals MVP plum.

It is UST’s first women’s basketball title since 2006.