THE UST Growling Tigers is facing a “long road” to rebuilding but its officials remain hopeful of gaining the backing of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).
Waiyip Chong, one of the Tigers’ newly appointed team managers, said there is no final agreement yet between UST and SMC but efforts to improve the performance and strengthen the roster of the collegiate squad are ongoing.
“We are still hopeful that SMC would give support to our Growling Tigers. SMC has been supportive to the sport of basketball and we are still seeking that Growling Tigers benefit [from] their support. SMC’s generosity would really be a great help to the team,” Chong told The Flame.
“Rebuilding the team, we understand that it is important to give support to the players in and out of the court and build trust within our team … It will be a long road. But together, journey with us and let’s bring the golden glow back to our Growling Tigers,” he added.
The UST men’s basketball team finished with one win and 13 losses during the 85th season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the worst record in the league. Former Barangay Ginebra stalwart and UST alumnus Bal David has stepped down as coach of the Tigers and has been replaced by returning tactician Pido Jarencio, who led the squad to its last title in 2006.
During the previous season, the Tigers made history in the UAAP for the wrong reason.
The Thomasian squad absorbed its worst loss in the league since 2003 following a 101-51 bludgeoning at the hands of the Ateneo Blue Eagles on April 21, 2022.
While UST does not have the backing of SMC yet, its team officials are “bringing in competent members, from players to coaching team,” Chong said.
But he acknowledged that SMC’s “generosity” would “really be a great help” to the team.
“If we get the backing of SMC, we would get the wisdom and guidance of boss Alfrancis Chua, who is the SMC’s sports director, who also is part of the UST Glowing Goldies,” Chong said, referring to the former moniker of the UST men’s basketball team.
“It would be beneficial to the players especially that they would be learning a lot from him (Chua) aside from other things.”
Chong, also the assistant team manager of Northport in the Philippine Basketball Association, said the Thomasian senior men’s basketball team is in the process of “understanding, learning, scouting and training.”
“Every day, expect our players to get better they would show up and put in the hard work in each of the trainings with the coaching team,” Chong said.
“As a Thomasian, I will work my best to rebuild the Growling Tigers. Of course, it would be a great help if we get the backing of sponsors. No doubt about it.”
As the team embarks on a long road to rebuilding, it is seeking not just the support of SMC.
“We need your support, the support of the UST community and go with our direction to bring back our team,” Chong said. F – Shayne Lee Macaraeg