MANILA, Philippines – Pido Jarencio is convinced that he can lead University of Santo Tomas back to glory in the UAAP, but his alma mater has yet to contact the charismatic mentor regarding its head coaching position.
Jarencio coached UST for eight years, from 2006 to 2013, and led them to three Finals appearances. His first year at helm was his most triumphant: Jarencio piloted an underdog squad to the Season 69 title against a highly-favored Ateneo de Manila University squad.
He left at the end of Season 76, after the Growling Tigers lost in the UAAP Finals for the second consecutive year. Since then, Jarencio has been a part of the GlobalPort franchise in the PBA, and was recently appointed as the head coach of the Batang Pier for the third time.
Still, UST never strays far from Jarencio's mind. And with the head coaching position vacant following the unceremonious exit of the embattled Boy Sablan, Jarencio is proclaiming his desire to return to España and once again take charge of their basketball program.
"Kung gusto nila ako, wala namang problema. I'll take that position. Open naman ata ang position eh," Jarencio told reporters on Thursday, following GlobalPort's preseason game against Magnolia.
"I'm willing to help," he stressed. "Alam ko naman ang formula doon at ang sikreto doon eh."
Jarencio noted that he was quite successful during his eight-year stay in UST. Indeed, the core of the team that made it to the Season 78 Finals – two years after he left – was still composed of his recruits. "Same program 'yun," he said. "Akin pa rin lahat 'yun."
"I don't take it from Coach Bong (dela Cruz), sistema niya 'yun. Pero ang point ko, 'yun na 'yun, na-build ko na 'yun. Tuloy-tuloy na dapat 'yun," he added.
Jarencio sees UST's struggles in the past two season as "destiny." The Tigers compiled a woeful 4-24 record under Sablan; they won only one game in the recently concluded Season 80 tournament. "Kung bumagsak ng ganoon, wala na tayong magagawa," said Jarencio. "Kailangan, recovery na lang ulit."
In this regard, he is willing to help his beloved alma mater.
"I'm willing to return sa coaching, as long as UST wants me," he said.
Therein lies the issue: Jarencio admits that UST has yet to call him regarding its head coaching position, even though he has already expressed his desire to return last month.
"Wala, wala," he admitted when asked if UST has reached out to him at all. "Pero, I'm here. Dito lang ako. If other coaches can do that, na PBA and UAAP, why not me?"
"The Fireman" said that if the university does not want him back, then he can do nothing about it.
"Kung may doubt ang UST sa akin, ayaw nila sa akin, wala namang problema. Nasa PBA ako," he said.
"Kung hindi naman nila ako gusto, ano magagawa ko?" he added.
Still, Jarencio stressed that he knows what it will take for the Growling Tigers to return to the top of the UAAP after a pair of disappointing seasons.
"Alam niyo naman na ang puso ko ay UST talaga," he said. "Ako, alam ko naman ang solusyon doon – 'yung three Ps lang natin: pride, puso, palaban. Alam niyo naman 'yun."
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