No time to relax as ‘strict’ Sablan, Tigers buckle down to work
Rodil “Boy” Sablan sees his appointment new UST head coach as an answered prayer.
“I waited patiently for this and ngayong dumating sa akin ito, I really believe it’s an answered prayer para sa akin. May purpose kung bakit ako nandito ngayon,” the 52-year-old mentor told INQUIRER.net in his first interview to the media since signing a one-year head coaching contract on Tuesday afternoon.
Sablan isn’t a nobody when it comes to coaching. He was a deputy for coach Pido Jarencio in UST from 2006 to 2012, and served as an assistant to coach Leo Isaac in Blackwater from the D-League to the PBA.
READ: Sablan officially named UST head coach
INQUIRER.net contacted Sablan last week but was he unwilling to preempt any announcement from the UST administration.
Now that he has gotten the nod, he said he’s hoping to implement a new defensive-oriented system for the Growling Tigers as he takes over a team who had lost their key players to graduation
“When it comes to basketball, ang gusto ko defensive yung laro ng mga bata eh. Importante yung depensa at the same time, yung passing ng players and taking advantage of the transition game,” Sablan said.
But for now, the first order of business for Sablan will be instilling discipline to the Growling Tigers’ men’s basketball program.
“Unang una, yung discipline sa mga bata ang kailangan nating i-instill. Yung attitude, kailangang ma-implement natin para sumunod sila sa mga bagay na gusto nating ipagawa. It’s the basic things, yun ang unang una nating gustong ma-instill sa mga bata,” he said.
Inheriting a barren core without the likes of Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul and Ed Daquioag, Sablan admits that
that replicating a trip to the Finals would be a tough challenge.
“Maraming nawala sa team, yung buong first five nawala. Wala akong mga beterano bukod kay Kent Lao. People will understand kung ano ang mararating namin,” he said.
Aside from graduations of their leaders, the Growling Tigers also lost Louie Vigil and Jamil Sheriff due to the new UAAP ruling to reducing the age limit from 25 to 24 years old, leaving Sablan with Lao and upstart guard Marvin Lee to banner the España crew.
But that doesn’t mean that the Growling Tigers will just roll over and die, and Sablan said that all he needs from the players is to give their 110-percent effort everyday.
“I’m positive that within three months, if we work hard and work disciplined, may pupuntahan kami. Pag tatamad-tamad dito, kahit sino ang ilagay namin, walang mangyayari. Kailangan lang mag-trabaho lang kami ng mabuti araw-araw sa practice, and prayers pa rin. Definitely, kung ganoon, may pupuntahan kami pag pinagtrabahuan namin.”
And if there’s something the UST community can expect from its new head coach, Sablan said that he’s wishing to bring out the best from his players.
“Definitely magiging strict ako, but strict in the proper place. Tiwala naman ako sa mga bata and I just told them na wala kaming time para mag-relax. We go back to work tomorrow,” he said.
Sablan takes over UST practices starting on Wednesday, where he will be joined by assistant coaches Patrick Fran, Rabbi Tomacruz, Tylon Darjuan, Juben Ledesma, Gina Francisco, and conditioning coach John Aquino.
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