MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas head coach Pido Jarencio was noticeably reserved following his Growling Tigers’ loss in Game Two of the UAAP Season 75 Finals to the Ateneo, which allowed the Blue Eagles to seal their fifth straight title.
Jarencio had cut an angry, fiery figure when the Tigers lost Game One, ranting against the officiating and claiming that the referees’ calls were unfair.
But this time, following a heartbreaking loss, Jarencio was more mellow, more restrained. He did not hesitate to give credit to Ateneo head coach Norman Black, despite their war of words through the media earlier in the week.
“Hats off to Coach Norman. For five years, nakuha niya ang championship,” Jarencio said.
Black is moving on to the PBA after this season, and Jarencio hinted that he may also be on his way out of UST after seven years as the coach.
“Ako, pitong taon, limang Final Four, dalawang Finals, isang championship,” he said, enumerating the achievements of his Tigers. “Siguro, pwede na ako dapat umexit. Eh hindi mission accomplished eh.”
“Medyo nag-iisip pa tuloy ako,” he added.
Jarencio said he will think about his future with the Tigers and will most likely come to a decision next year.
“Titingnan ko,” he said. “Sabi ko sa kanila by January kung anong magiging decision.”
Jarencio paused, then added: “Siguro, pagod lang ako ngayon kay kung ano-ano ang iniisip ko. Bahala na. Mag-uusap na lang kami.”
Jarencio will now focus on his duties as the assistant coach of the Petron Blaze Boosters in the PBA.
“Magtitinda muna ako ng gasolina,” he said in jest.
Despite the loss, Jarencio was able to joke before taking questions from the media. “Buti na lang hindi nai-shoot ni Juami (Tiongson) ‘yung tira, kaya nai-shoot naming, lamang kami ng isa… Ay, talo pala kami,” he said.
But he quickly grew serious, saying, “Breaks of the game lang talaga. Na-shoot pa ni Juami ‘yung last-second shot, eh buzzer na dapat ‘yun. Siguro para sa kanila ito.”
Jarencio failed to lead UST to a “Repeat of ’06,” wherein he, as a rookie head coach, steered the Tigers to a victory over the Blue Eagles in three games.
He is optimistic about the future of his Tigers, however, pointing out that only Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang were graduating.
“Ang maganda lang dito, ang ibang players ko, two or three more years pang maglalaro. Mas lalong titibay ‘yan, kasi nagkaroon na ng championship experience,” he said.