UAAP: Nic Cabañero happy to be part of UST’s revival bid under Pido Jarencio
MANILA, Philippines — Nic Cabañero had to sacrifice his curly hair as returning University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio brought back his trademark buzz cut requirement for his players in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
But the third-year UST guard didn’t regret cutting his hair short as he welcomes all the changes in their culture with Jarencio bringing back his ‘Puso, Pride, Palaban’ mantra after being away with the school for the past 10 years.
“I don’t care about my hairstyle because that’s what he wants,” Cabañero told Inquirer Sports in Filipino. “He implemented it, for us to be committed to UST and to him. I’m happy to be part of his team and have him as our coach.”
After a frustrating 1-13 season last year, Cabañero continues to develop his game and leadership for the young UST team, which lost Jamba Garing, Royce Mantua, Ian Herrera, and Richi Calimag.
Nic Cabañero on playing for returning UST coach Pido Jarencio and sporting their buzz haircuts. #UAAPSeason86
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Friday, September 29, 2023
“There’s a lot [of changes]. I’ve improved my leadership because I know coach Pido is a great motivator. I’m also helping him build the team because I’m like the extension of our coaches as the co-captain of Paul [Manalang],” said the high-scoring guard in Filipino.
Cabañero, who averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game last season, said the team made the most of their build-up that started last February including a training camp in South Korea.
UST is parading the roster that also includes holdovers Paul Manalang, Adama Faye, and Christian Manaytay, as well as newcomers SJ Moore and Mark Llemit.
“We’re excited to be part of the second coming of Puso, Pride, Palaban. Every practice and tune-up game, we made sure to learn from our preparation and the advice of our coaches,” he said.
UST opens its campaign against host University of the East on Saturday, 2 p.m., at MOA Arena nd Cabañero promises to go all out every game.
“I’ll do my best every game and we will try to win one game at a time. That’s our focus for now, final four and championship will come if we win one game at a time,” he said.