'Parang rookie ulit': UST's Pastrana excited to make UAAP return

Levi Joshua Verora Jr.

Posted at Mar 27 2023 05:00 AM

UST's Kent Jane Pastrana. Levi Joshua Verora Jr.
UST's Kent Jane Pastrana. Levi Joshua Verora Jr.

MANILA – Shortly after the UST Golden Tigresses won the NBA 3X Philippines women’s open title on Sunday, Kent Jane Pastrana asked her teammates to follow her outside the Mall of Asia Music Hall.

When asked, Pastrana’s response was straightforward: “TikTok.” Being of the younger generation themselves, her teammates – Tacky Tacatac, Rocel Dionisio, and Reynalyn Ferrer – gladly accepted as they went on to film a quick video to celebrate their victory.

For the transferee from De La Salle University (DLSU), moments like this off the hardcourt speed up the process of building chemistry with her new squad.

“Kailan ko kilalanin ang mga kasama ko. Parang rookie ulit ako dito sa UST. Doon ako magbi-build ng chemistry sa kanila, outside and inside the court,” Pastrana, who sat out UAAP Season 85, said.

“Mas malalaman ko kung ano ang attitude, ang laro nila sa court, at kung ano ang mga kailangan kong malaman para sa team ng UST.”

The Tigresses willed themselves in the highly-physical championship match, overcoming a 0-6 deficit against powerhouse club Uratex Dream, which had the country’s No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players in Kristina Deacon and Kaye Pingol.

Pastrana and Tacatac joined hands in the comeback which saw the Espana side lean on its outside shooting to take control of the game and win, 21-16 in front of a good-sized UST crowd which included members of both collegiate and high school girls basketball programs.

Before the clincher, UST edged another contender in the NU Lady Bulldogs, which had familiar names Kristine Cayabyab, Angel Surada, and Karl Ann Pingol, 18-13.

Pastrana’s back-to-back two-pointers inside of the final minute gave the Tigresses the lead against the defending UAAP women’s champions.

“Sobrang thankful ako sa UST dahil binigyan nila ako ng tiwala at binigyan nila ako ng opportunity para mapakita ang talent ko, and also sa coaches ko, sobrang blessed and thankful ako,” Pastrana added.

The Silay City, Negros Occidental standout turned heads from the moment she started her UAAP career, being named Season 82 Rookie of the Year and Mythical 5 awardee, back when she was with the Lady Archers.

According to UST head coach Haydee Ong, it was Pastrana who reached out when she departed La Salle for personal reasons. The long-time tactician calls it “God’s will” to have the 5-foot-7 winger join the perennial Final Four contenders.

“Super happy ako talaga, because mahirap kumuha ng diamonds (kagaya niya) na may talent, may height, coachable,” Ong recalled.

“Pagdating ni Kent, medyo nag-adjust siya coming from a different system sa La Salle. I think slowly naman, she’s getting into the system, and itong 3x3, kahit papa’no, pinakita niya that Kent Pastrana is back.”

Having already served her residency, Pastrana will be one of the key cogs for Ong once the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament unfolds.

UST is coming off a semifinal finish in Season 85. They had an 11-3 record but were narrowly ousted by twice-to-beat La Salle in their Final Four pairing which went to a rubber match.

The Sports and Wellness Management major is thankful for a student-athlete culture that has helped her ease into the transition.

“Sobrang thankful ako na kinuha ako (ni coach Haydee). Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko, hindi niya ako pinabayaan,” Pastrana shared.

“Sobrang malaking tulong and marami akong natutunan from her sa talent ko and sa personal attitude ko, kung paano niya ako iimprove, kung anong maitutulong ko sa team niya, binigyan niya lang ako ng tiwala na kayang kaya ko ang mga pinapagawa niya.”

With three eligible playing years left and everything else going her way, Pastrana is looking forward to reintroducing herself to the scene, excited to make her long-awaited UAAP comeback.

“This upcoming season, babawi ako at ipapakita ang pagbabalik ni Kent Pastrana.”


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