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MANILA, Philippines — Coach Pido Jarencio had a nightmarish return in his first season back with UST as the Growling Tigers finished with a league-worst 2-12 record.
Despite exceeding his lowly expectations of a single win in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament, the longtime tactician took full responsibility for the team’s poor showing.
“I disappointed the UST community, I ask for forgiveness,” Jarencio said in a mix of English and Filipino after UST’s 57-53 win over FEU on Saturday, November 18.
“But for sure, we’ll be better next year with our recruits, when they’re there already,” the former UAAP champion coach added.
“My only regret is coming into the season, one of my sons (players) lied, and in the end, he left, but he left behind 15 players, and I have no qualms about them.”
Jarencio was likely alluding to foreign student-athlete Adama Faye, who left the team and went home to Senegal to recuperate from his back injury.
During the season, UST went all-Filipino and endured the school’s longest losing streak – 19 straight bridging Seasons 85 and 86.
The Growling Tigers were only able to beat one team this year, the Tamaraws, sweeping them in their two face-offs.
Despite the gloom and doom of the past three seasons which only produced a total of 6 wins in 42 outings, Jarencio expressed optimism with the team’s composition for Season 87.
“It’s just simple: many will leave, many will enter, then they will have to prove themselves in training, and we will play in many tournaments,” said Jarencio, who steered UST to its last championship run in 2006.
“When it comes to basketball, it’s a matter of timing… when you win a title, when you form a strong team, when players leave for other teams, and when they graduate.”