MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio took the blame after his much-awaited UAAP return was spoiled by the University of the East at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
“’Yung talo na ito, related to lahat ito. Ganun lang kasimple ‘yun. Wag na ‘yung mga bata, or ko na lang. Kaya ko i-handle yun dahil ‘yung mga bata hindi natin alam,’ Jarencio said after the Growling Tigers’ 80-70 defeat in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball opener. “Basta ito los en los, kin. Win or win para sa kanila yun.”
(This loss is my fault. It’s as simple as that. It’s not their (players) fault. Blame me. I can handle it, but we don’t know if they can.)
Jarencio lamented their poor start, trailing 22-9 in the first quarter, shooting 21-of-62 from the field, allowing four UE players to score at least 15 points, led by the double-double of Noy Remogat and Precious Momowei.
“We had a bad start. We don’t make our shots, we don’t play defense, then Adama Faye is injured. We just played him because imports are a big difference for a team,” Jarencio said in Filipino.
The Growling Tigers cut a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter, after Nic Cabañero and Mark Llemit cut the deficit to eight, 75-67, with 2:03 remaining, but only for the Red Warriors to keep them at bay .
“We played better defense in the third and fourth and were able to limit them. But the problem was we didn’t take our pictures. That was the story of the match,” he said.
Cabañero, who led the Tigers with 18 points and eight rebounds but fouled out along the way, remained optimistic despite losing their first game, extending their losing streak to 14 games from last year.
“I’m not happy because we didn’t manage to get the win. We will stick to the system and continue to absorb what our coaches will say. We will review our mistakes so we can improve them. I also made a lot of mistakes in the game,” the third-year player said in Filipino. “We look forward to unlocking our potential in the next game. We will learn from this experience.”
But Jarencio, who returned to UST after a decade, didn’t want his team to just learn.
“Kailangan saluhin ko si Nic doon. Hindi learning experience, baguhin natin yun charge to experience, bugbog na yung learning eh,” Jarencio said.
Despite the loss, Jarencio was excited about his return to UST.
“I feel good because I am coaching in my beloved UST. You all know how much I love UST at the same time. I saw the new and old supporters of UST as well as the past and new bashers,” said the PBA legend.
UST will look to bounce back against Adamson on Wednesday, with Jarencio promising to make the necessary adjustments.
“We will make the adjustments. For the time being we will stick with our healthy players. We look forward to meeting Adamson with coach Nash (Racela), they are strong. We’ll be ready against Adamson. College basketball is fun,” he said.