MANILA, Philippines -- In his quest to become the head coach of University of Santo Tomas (UST), former PBA import Sean Chambers can count on the support of his longtime coach, Tim Cone.
Chambers, who played for the Alaska franchise in the 1990s, joined the long list of applicants for the vacant UST head coaching position.
Aldin Ayo, who led the Growling Tigers to the UAAP finals last season, resigned from his post in the wake of the Sorsogon bubble controversy. He has also been given an indefinite ban by the league.
"When I started looking at positions in the past in the Philippines, this is the first one that actually felt naturally right. It felt like this is an opportunity that I felt, it could have God's blessing," said Chambers of the opportunity to coach the Tigers.
Chambers had been linked to the UST position before, back when the school was searching for a head coach in 2017. At the time, the champion import felt it was not the right time to apply, as his children were still too young.
With his kids on the verge of adulthood, Chambers is more ready to return to the Philippines and call the shots for a school that has been close to his heart ever since the '90s, when he would watch UST games upon the invitation of the late Aric del Rosario.
Cone, who now coaches Barangay Ginebra, has been quoted as saying that Chambers will be a good fit as he "knows Philippine basketball like the back of his hand."
Chambers not only knows his x's and o's, but he is also intimately familiar with Philippine culture and Philippine basketball after playing here as an import for more than a decade. Cone also touted his leadership skills, telling sports website Spin that everyone in their team "always loved Sean."
Having his former coach's support clearly means the world to Chambers, who became emotional during his recent appearance on the "Athlete's Tribune" when Cone's words were brought up.
"When somebody sent me the article that he posted, I had to pull over my car and kinda shed a tear," Chambers admitted. "I was deeply moved by Coach Tim and his words and our connection after 40, 30 years now, that our connection continues to be this close relationship."
Chambers said he was moved to tears by Cone's support of him, especially as he considers the multi-titled mentor as a "big brother."
It also touched him that he received support not just from Cone, but also from his former teammates and even Alaska franchise owner Fred Uytengsu.
"I called Mr. Uytengsu up and I asked his thoughts about the opportunity to apply for the job," he revealed.
"Those two have been amazing mentors of mine since the day I came in as a 24, 25 year old, still to this day at 55," he added.
It remains to be seen if Chambers will make it to the shortlist of coaches that UST will consider for the position.
Aside from the former PBA import, other names who have submitted their applications to UST include: Aris Dimaunahan, Siot Tanquingcen, Chris Gavina, and Gilbert Lao.