Former Thai coach eyes UST post as coaching race heats up

A foreign national team coach apparently wants to help the UST Growling Tigers get back on their feet.

Former Thailand national team head coach Chris Daleo confirmed to Rappler on Wednesday, September 16, that he has sent an email applying for a “consultant” coaching role with the UST Growling Tigers. (READ: TIMELINE: Chaos follows as UST bubble bursts)

Daleo, who has 30 years of basketball coaching experience, wants to take his act to the Philippine hoops scene after spending the last 3 years in Thailand, where he led teams to a total of 7 championships in the Thailand Basketball League.

The UST men’s basketball program has been thrown into disarray following the resignation and eventual indefinite UAAP suspension of coach Aldin Ayo, who violated the government’s health protocols by bringing his entire team to Sorsogon for a training camp.

A total of 7 players – including former team captain CJ Cansino, last season’s sensation Rhenz Abando, and top rookie Mark Nonoy – have also left the team and immediately transferred to other schools. 

Daleo joins a growing list of applicants for the UST coaching job, which now includes Sean Chambers, Chris Gavina, Estong Ballesteros, Chris Cantojos, Aris Dimaunahan, Ed Cordero, and Gilbert Lao.

Sources have told Rappler that a number of UST alumni and former Growling Tigers are pushing for Pido Jarencio to return as the team’s head coach.

Jarencio, who steered the Tigers to the UAAP championship in 2006, currently coaches the NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA.

Given his status as a foreigner and the rules of the BCAP, Daleo applied as a consultant, similar to the role given to Jermaine Byrd with the DLSU Green Archers last UAAP season.

Last year, Daleo led Thailand’s national team to a silver medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where they lost to the Philippine team, Gilas, in the gold medal match. It was the Thai’s first silver medal showing in 6 years.

Daleo’s resumé also includes coaching experience in the Continental Basketball Association and the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championships.

“I have been following the UAAP Final Four and I’m very curious about installing a culture,” Daleo said about his intent to join University of Sto. Tomas.

“They want to win. I feel that I can offer a part of that culture that appreciates winning,” said the 52-year-old coach, whose record has only one losing season since he started coaching in 1999.

After leaving Thailand in March following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Daleo is now in Chicago where he is training Filipino-American basketball players under Tumakbo Basketball, as they aim to make it to either of the Philippines’ collegiate basketball tournaments – the UAAP and NCAA – or to the PBA and ABL.

One former ABL standout, Jason Brickman, was complimentary of Daleo’s coaching skills after playing for him with Hi-Tech Bangkok City in the TBL.

“Coach Daleo is a winner. He has a great system and knows how to get the most out of his players,” said Brickman. “He has helped to develop the local players in Thailand and won many championships. I loved playing for him.”

One of Daleo’s points of contention for a role with UST is his connections with Fil-Am players and potential imports who can bolster the Growling Tigers’ roster, which he mentioned in his email application. –