‘Proud’ Sablan asks for another season: Tigers will be ready next year
It was a nightmare of a season for University of Santo Tomas but head coach Boy Sablan can sleep well at night knowing he had instilled good values in his players.
“Even though we’re 1-13, I’m proud of these boys,” Sablan said on the heels of the Growling Tigers’ 88-85 win over University of the East on Sunday.
“We went on a rebuilding process, and the transition these players had to go through with having different coaches wasn’t easy and we had to start it from there. These players, wherever they end up, I know they will be good people. They won’t get into fights and they won’t start fights. That’s the values of UST that was instilled to us, to just play our game. Even though we’re banged up, we won’t retaliate. That’s the lesson I taught them, to be good people.”
Sablan shared that he really tried his best to expose his wards to the best competition he can get in preparation for the season, taking UST to different leagues nationwide just for the team to be tested.
“I did my part. I did my best. I took them everywhere just for us to play. Agusan, Davao, Malolos, Baguio, Subic, Pampanga, Cabanatuan, Laguna — we all played there because we knew that we lack in experience and exposure and for us to have that, we have to play,” he said.
However, Sablan didn’t get the results he wanted. UST had a habit of losing early leads and faltering in the end as the inexperience showed.
“We can’t finish games. That’s where maturity and experience comes into play. All of the factors when it comes to our rebuilding process have worked against us,” Sablan lamented.
But through it all, Sablan believed the losses will toughen his players in the long run.
He is also proud of the progress of his players, who he claimed to have blossomed under his watch.
“I’m happy for these players that we got a win. You know why? Because you can see their individual improvement in their time under me,” said Sablan, who raved about the development of some of his players like Marvin Lee and Jeepy Faundo, Eric Caunan and rookies Vaughn Soriano and Martin Romero.
Amid talks of his ouster, Sablan pleaded for another chance as he sees a better UST team ahead.
“I think you will all agree that one year isn’t enough to rebuild a team like this. It would be easier if we had a Kevin Ferrer or an Ed Daquioag, but we don’t. People are expecting us to deliver, but chemistry needs time to jell,” he said.
“In a year’s time, those things have to happen with a longer period for us to bond. That’s why I’m saying for next year, give us another year, these guys will be ready.”