UAAP Season 78 Preview: UST Tigers inspired by Patrimonio's presence | Inquirer Sports

UAAP Season 78 Preview: UST Tigers inspired by Patrimonio’s presence

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 09:12 PM September 04, 2015

Four La Salle Green Archers try to stop UST's Karim Abdul. Noy Morcoso lll/INQUIRER.net

Four La Salle Green Archers try to stop UST’s Karim Abdul. Noy Morcoso lll/INQUIRER.net

Head coach: Bong Dela Cruz
Key losses: Aljon Mariano, Kim Lo
Key Returnees: Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, Ed Daquioag
Key additions: Mario Bonleon, Kyle Suarez

UAAP’s 2006 Basketball Finals produced one of the biggest Cinderella stories ever with University of Santo Tomas pulling the improbable to take the title over Ateneo with a rookie head coach guiding the team.

For the following eight seasons Pido Jarencio embodied the Growling Tigers’ mantra of three Ps— “Pride, Puso, Palaban”—as their scrappy play took the wind out of their opponents and the Go Uste! chants filled the arenas.

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Jarencio’s final two years with UST saw the Growling Tigers become Cinderella’s stepsisters as Prince Charming presented them the slipper that never fit.

After Ateneo, De La Salle and National University, who has its own rags-to-riches story, took over the league.

When Bong De La Cruz assumed the coaching reins for Growling Tigers, the squad only produced five wins against nine losses.

In the upcoming Season 78, it doesn’t get any easier for Dela Cruz whose squad has a mix of six rookies, a couple of star veterans, and a new assistant who’s unlike any other.

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Joining De La Cruz in the sidelines is his new big man coach, the legendary “Captain” Alvin Patrimonio.

READ: PBA legend Patrimonio joins UST coaching staff

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Patrimonio is on board as one of De La Cruz’ assistants, replacing Estong Ballesteros.

On the floor, De La Cruz has two solid veterans to relay his message to the rookies, Kevin Ferrer and Karim Abdul.

“Kevin and Karim, this is their final year, they want to exit at the top,” De La Cruz said. “That’s what fuels their determination, every time during practice they take it to heart.”

De La Cruz may have quality rookies like Emmanuel Bonleon and Zachary Huang but the biggest acquisition he has by far Patrimonio.

“Coach Alvin is a really big help for us, especially for the kids,” De La Cruz said of the four-time PBA MVP. “Their morale and confidence goes up because of Coach Alvin.”

“He’s really more into skills and the motivational part just comes with it.”

Ferrer, the new captain of the team, knows he has to do more for the young ones and having Patrimonio on the team makes it more sweeter.

After several stints with Gilas Cadets, the bulked-up forward wants to leave a legacy for the rookies.

“I am guiding the rookies and with my experience with the national team I want to share my knowledge with them,” Ferrer said who has taken the leadership role in stride. “At least, when the time comes I leave the team, I know I’ll leave behind a legacy.”

And with a teacher like Patrimonio, he knows he has to take everything the PBA great teaches.

“Coach Alvin, he was known as a post-up player so we really take it to heart what he has taught us. We’re hungry to learn.”

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TAGS: Alvin Patrimonio, bong dela cruz, Karim Abdul, Sports, UAAP, University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers

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