MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio took the blame after his much-awaited UAAP return was spoiled by University of the East on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“‘Yung talo na ito, akin lahat ito. Ganun lang kasimple ‘yun. Wag na ‘yung mga bata, ako na lang. Kaya ko i-handle yun dahil ‘yung mga bata hindi natin alam,” Jarencio said after the Growling Tigers’ 80-70 loss in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball opener. “Basta ito lose and lose, akin. Win or win para sa kanila yun.”
(This loss is on me. It’s that simple. It’s not their fault (players). Blame it on me. I can handle it but we don’t know if they can.)
Jarencio lamented their bad start trailing 22-9 in the first quarter, shooting 21-of-62 from the field, and 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’re not making our shots, we’re not playing defense, then Adama Faye is injured, We just played him because import is a big difference for a team,” said Jarencio in Filipino.
The Growling Tigers cut a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter after Nic Cabañero and Mark Llemit trimmed it down 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 we were able to limit them. But the problem was we were not making our shots. That was the story of the game,” he said.
Cabañero, who led the Tigers with 18 points and eight rebounds but fouled out down the stretch, remained optimistic despite losing their first game, which stretched their losing streak to 14 games dating back to last year.
“I’m not happy because we failed to get the win. We will stick to the system and will continue to absorb what our coaches will say. We will review our mistakes for us to improve. I also committed a lot of lapses in the game,” said the third-year player in Filipino. “We’re looking forward to unlocking our capabilities next game. We will learn from this experience.”
But Jarencio, who returned to UST after 10 years, 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 elated with his return to UST.
“I feel good because I’m coaching in my beloved UST. You all know how I love UST at the same time, I saw the new and longtime supporters of UST as well as the past and new bashers,” the PBA legend said.
UST tries to bounce back against Adamson on Wednesday with Jarencio vowing to make the necessary adjustments.
“We will make the adjustments. We will stick to our healthy players for now. We’re looking forward to facing Adamson with coach Nash [Racela] they are strong. We’ll be ready against Adamson. College basketball is fun,” he said.