UST growls next year

Sure, in the university’s 399th year, the UST Basketball squad failed to reach the UAAP’s final four.

But come 2011, expect Tiger Glory.

I am happy to be an alumnus of the royal, pontifical, Catholic university. It was either UST or bust. Part of me wanted to study in UP but it was near my house and college for me was travelling municipalities where having a school bus service is embarrassing. My dad was a seminarian and even if I never saw his seminary, UST was the closest thing he had as a college (he took some classes in UST). Ever since elementary, I have been bombarded of how important UST is to the Philippines. It is regarded as the oldest university in Asia. The school molded several heroes like Jose Rizal, among others. The most important reason why I wanted to go to UST...

Aric del Rosario. Dennis Espino. Chris Cantonjos. Edmund Reyes. Bal David. Dale Singson. Henry Ong. Patick Fran. Rudolf Belmonte. Estong Ballesteros.

I was a huge UST mark during the mid-90’s. Sure when they were having a four-peat, San Sebastian was having its five-feat. Fact is, NCAA didn’t have TV coverage as extensive as that of the UAAP. Silverstar made it easy for me to sight the basketball games and the tandem of Joaqui Trillo and Jimmy Javier.

I hated DLSU when Dino Aldaguer sank a jumpshot that dashed all hopes of my one and only chance to claim a championship when I was still studying for the school. Years later, I marked loud when Jervy Cruz, Jojo Duncil, Japs Cuan, Jun Cortez, and Dylan Ababou defeated the much-fancied JC Intal-led Ateneo Blue Eagles in 2006. I will always remember the contributions Cyrus Baguio, Richard Yee, Marvin Ortiguerra, Emerson Oreta, Gelo Velasco, Melchor Latoreno, Nino Gelig, Chandler Donaldson, Gilbert Lao, Jeff Valeriano, Jake Agleron, Glen Maching, Alywn Espiritu, and Gerard Francisco gave to the school. Whenever I think of the Growling Tigers, their winning tradition is something that should be the first thing on our minds.

But now, that’s not the case.

If only Jervy Cruz, Chester Taylor, Francis Allera, Mark Canlas, June Dizon, and Mel Gile didn’t play in more or less the same timeline, one of them could have developed. But these guys were integral to UST’s recent win. Again I have been asking time and time again... where are UST’s big men?

This season was no different. Sure, they found a gold mine in Jervy Cruz but after him, who was the next big man that UST developed? Chris Camus? Camus is a great player. He will go to the PBA and do major damage in terms of offense and defense. However at 6’3, can he really be a center for a PBA team... much less a power forward? Camus is poised to become a big time help for various PBA squads but he needs to have the right position now! Cruz is a great help for Rain or Shine but he is a mismatch on offense if he is guarded by large built players.

Next season, we should expect Jeron Teng’s arrival to be met with open arms. The guy was the constant worker in the Youth Olympic Games 3-on-3 tournament. Just like his brother Jeric, he inherited Alvin Teng’s on-court smarts. He needs to grow more physically and mentally to become a better player... and he has five years to develop.

But can there be another big man for the Tigers to take? Sure Jeric Fortuna, Clark Bautista, Melo Afuang, Ed Aytona, Aljon Mariano and Teng are essential for the Tigers but what they need right now are frontliners. You see, you need these big, able guys 6’5 and up if they want to beat teams like FEU and Ateneo. If you look at it though, NU, DLSU, and Adamson have good chance to destroy them. Looking at it, they barely defeated UP because the Tigers have nothing to use for Magi Sison.

If we only had Sison in our lineup… will it be a different story?

Sure Kim Lo and Kenneth Mamaril can evolve to great players but they need a ton more of big players to have a long-term investment. This brings me back to the scouting. Where are these great Visayan big men a la JR Quinahan that they can bring back to Manila? How about their Pampanga connection? Where are the kids that were discovered from grassroots leagues? Why is it that Ateneo, La Salle, and FEU have these players at their disposal and UST don’t?

Perhaps the most obvious choice right now is for UST to scout exchange students. Sure, we might hate Lionel Manyara or Emmanuel Mbe, but they have the right to play since they are students and we are not talking about nations. However, the Tigers seriously need to upgrade their scouting. How about giving incentives to players who will enrol to the school? I am not saying we should pay them or anything (because that’s not right), but at least do anything for these players to approve going to the school.

The Tigers have a rich basketball system.

Hopefully in their fourth century of existence, they could claim victory.

Game over.


  1. syd i believe ust

    already has that so called "exchange student" in its lair...

    oh and a fil-am transferee from san beda..

  2. i know thw exchange student is a big man but i hope the fil-am is also a fil-am because we seriously lack a lot in those spots.

  3. the teng brothers, daquioag, camus.. and bigs that hopefully will defend,rebound and score on occasion. Ateneo, DLSU,FEU, NU have monster line-ups, but i'm a sucker for underdogs.. :D

    P.S. I'm from UP(but my sis is from UST), and if i had the power, i would give Sison to UST, and get him away from UP, a poor excuse for a basketball program xD Peace Sydman!

  4. yeah. magi sison is a great program away from being a top draw in the uaap.

    thanks for the comment dude!