By Lily O. Ramos
MANILA, (PNA)– Although fond of cracking jokes at every opportunity he finds, University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers coach Pido Jarencio was serious when he told mediamen at the Tuesday PSA Forum that the team who fervently wants to win the UAAP men’s basketball title will get it.
”It boils down to who will do better preparation, adjustment and the stopping of De La Salle’s bigs, scoring more points, grabbing second chance points and other intangibles. It’s mental preparation that really matters most,” said the smiling Jarencio.
He even made fun of his team’s brain when they lost 70-77 to the Green Archers last week. “Our brains were crushed that’s why we lost.”
Juno Sauler of DLSU had little to say except that he is concerned on how will his team approach the coming next few days before Saturday when they face off with the Tigers in a winner-take-all encounter.
While Jarencio is happy about having the Growling Tigers having a rest so they could recover strength, he is also hopeful that Aljon Mariano would be able to find himself and add some points to their coffer.
In the case of the Archers, Sauler, he said he’s not sure whether a few days of rest would affect his boys but he wants them to improve more on defense, double teaming, decision making and shots from the guards, particularly Jeron Teng on his older brother Jeric on the other side.
No monkey business on both sides; the Espana golden boys are dormed and the La Sallites are obligated to prioritize practice sessions.
Not even the presence of NBA stars of the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers could pull away the players’ attention. They are not allowed to see the NBA games for their own good.
How about the community and alumni factor? Having the support of everyone would mean having a sixth man just as the way the PBA’s most popular team, Ginebra San Miguel draws its strength from its numerous fans who go along with them win or lose.
Jarencio said he was worried about the inability of fans to buy tickets for Saturday. “Almost every minute, I am being asked by the alumni where to buy tickets but I can’ figure what to say.
They say the tickets are yet to be printed, yet some say, they have already been gobbled up in advance—leaving nothing to others. It’s pretty hard to get one these days.”
How do the alumni treat them? “That’s a very tough matter.The pressure is always there year-in,year-out on our performance. Me, if UST no longer wants me, I’ll just leave and go home to become a farmer in the province,” said the witty mentor.
In the case of Sauler, he said his fate in the collegiate league depends on the support he will get from the management and the DLSU community as well.
“I will find my way to some other jobs,” was his curt reply.