UAAP: Jokes aside, comic Jarencio says UST Tigers must be taken seriously
MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio was in his usual comic mood as he light-heartedly answered every question thrown by reporters ahead of his much-anticipated return in UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball.
Jarencio’s comeback in the UAAP after 10 years not only brings back high hopes for the Growling Tigers but also the fun within the team.
“Ako nagbibiro ako sa inyo kasi ganon lang kami masaya lang kami, masaya yung women’s team namin, masaya yung men’s team namin (I’m joking around right now because we’re having fun as a team. Our women’s team is happy, our men’s team is happy.) Coming to Season 86, [we’re excited and happy],” Jarencio told reporters moments before the press conference on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
With Jarencio back at the helm of the program that he once steered to a championship in 2006 and a couple more finals appearances in 2012 and 2013, the Tigers have reasons to be festive heading into Season 86 after winning only four games the past two seasons combined including a 1-13 record last year.
UST hasn’t won again since that title run in Season 69 but the Tigers’ fortunes are primed for a turnaround with Jarencio’s return and the backing of San Miguel Corporation.
“Sinabi ko nga, kami magiging competitive basta dala namin UST, may pride, puso, palaban (Like I said, we’re going to be competitive as long as we’re playing for UST),” said Jarencio, who also brought back his old battlecry of “Pride, Puso, Palaban.”
“Tingnan natin one game at a time kung mag-improve yung team, ayos. Kung hindi naman, patay sa akin ‘tong mga ‘to (Let’s see. One game at a time. It’s good if we improve, if not, they’re going to get in trouble),” he added with a laugh. “Makapanalo lang kaming isa goal na namin yun. Makadalawa sobra na yun. Basta laro lang one game at a time, tingnan natin diba kung makachamba.”
Jarencio believes defending champion Ateneo, runner-up University of the Philippines, National University, and La Salle are among the favorites.
But all jokes aside, Jarencio stressed that the rest of the league can’t sleep on the Growling Tigers as well.
“Abang abang lang kami. Ingat kayo sa amin (We’re just going to bide our time. Be careful against us),” quipped Jarencio, whose squad’s UAAP buildup even included holding camp in South Korea.
Jarencio was pleased with UST’s preparations and is thrilled to get the season going.
“Winelcome naman tayo ng UST saka alam niyo naman mahal ko ang UST eh (UST welcomed us with open arms and you know how much I love UST.. Ever since, through and through I’m with UST. I also love the people in the UAAP that’s why I’m excited to be here.”
UST plays host University of the East in the Season 86 curtain raiser on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.