UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The new head coach of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers hopes the UST community will be patient with their team as they embark on their campaign in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament.
Bong dela Cruz, who replaced the beloved Pido Jarencio as UST head coach, admitted that it may take some time for the Growling Tigers to really get their bearings.
"Maging pasensyoso lang," Dela Cruz said when asked about his message to the UST community. "Patience, kasi siyempre bago ako dito. May in-introduce akong konting system."
"At siyempre, yung tiwala. Sana hindi sila mawalan ng tiwala sa team," he added.
Dela Cruz said they are still running Jarencio's system, although he added a few tweaks here and there.
"Hopefully maayos namin 'yung dinagdag namin sa system," he said.
Having lost in the Finals in the past two years, the Tigers are highly motivated this season and are determined to go all the way this time.
"This coming season, babawi kami, and sobrang gigil kami na makuha 'yung ring," said UST swingman Kevin Ferrer.
But Dela Cruz said they still need to improve on several areas of their game, including their defense and shooting.
"Gusto namin, sa year na ito ay more on defense kami," he said, adding that with Jeric Teng no longer in the team, all veterans are expected to step up and contribute.
"Lahat, kailangan mag-deliver this year. Kahit sino sa kanila, kailangan mag-deliver this year," he said.
One thing that dela Cruz can say for sure is that the fiery playing style and on-court attitude that the Growling Tigers displayed during Jarencio's time will still be there.
"Competitive pa rin ang UST. May puso pa rin, and'yan pa rin 'yung pride, at palaban pa rin kami," he promised.