MANILA, Philippines—Even though University of Santo Tomas ended its bid in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament with a win, coach Pido Jarencio showed up to the media minus his signature smile.
Instead of relishing the Growling Tigers’ 57-53 win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, Jarencio lamented his team’s overall campaign: Two wins and 12 losses–the worst record in the league.
“I earn my spot here if we win. You won’t see me If we lose,” said Jarencio, referring to the post-game press conference.
“[It was a] disappointing season for us. We only won two and I take full responsibility. I disappointed the UST community. I ask for forgiveness from them but for sure, we’ll be better next year with our recruits who’re there.”
Jarencio said that last sentence with quite a look of confidence.
After all, even before Season 86 started, UST had been hard at work recruiting new talents for a rebuilding team.
It was like a domino effect. It started with blue-chip recruits like Jun Melecio, Ashon Andrews, Geremy Robinson Jr. and Leland Estacio.
Then, former University of the East standout Kyle Paranada joined the Tigers’ den to beef up UST’s guard rotation even more.
And the latest and perhaps the biggest acquisition, Forthsky Padrigao followed the marching of the band to España.
Jarencio also rued the loss of one of his players whom he refused to name.
“We lacked preparation and there were just things that were beyond our control. My only regret coming into the season is I have a player who lied to me and he left the team. But I can’t say enough about the 15 players who are here and did everything for the team to win. But we fell short and it’s all my fault,” he said.
“I don’t want to say his name. You already know who. We have 16 players here and only 15 played. To be fair, I won’t say his name. But he wasn’t fair to me and the team. I pity these boys who fought hard. But for sure, we’ll be better next year with our recruits and with more preparation.”
Jarencio was pertaining to Adama Faye, who left UST midway through the season. The Senegalese center reportedly flew back to his home country to further recover from a nagging back injury.
In true Jarencio fashion, the champion coach also had something to say about his critics.
“To the community, I’m sorry. To my bashers, I love you all, God bless you all.”