UNIVERSITY OF STO. TOMAS GROWLING TIGERS
IF YOU NOTICED – AND YOU SHOULD HAVE – THERE’S A BOUNCE IN PIDO JARENCIO’S STEP NOWADAYS. HE’S LIKE A KID WHO FINALLY HAS A FEW MORE PIECES ADDED TO HIS ARSENAL. ALL THE BETTER TO DO BATTLE WITH THE BIG BOYS. BEFORE, IT WAS ALL ABOUT BOMBING WITH IMPUNI
Jeric Fortuna and Clark Bautista in the backcourt with Jeric Teng and Chris Camus in the frontcourt with the undersized but no less tough Carmelo Afuang in the middle.
Pretty much the same starting unit as last season. Jarencio hopes that being a year older will bring out the best of this unit.
After two disappointing years, Bautista looks to finally fulfill his promise as a lethal weapon instead of being an offthe-bench specialist. He’s shown more confidence and whether that’s growth as a player, maturity, or both, then that augurs well. Because that means Teng will become more of a threat when he drives and their frontcourt men will have a little more room to operate.
The problem with this starting unit is that they are height challenged. There’s no doubt that they can score but can they defend?
And if Jarencio insists on making Jeric Teng a stopper, then they’re in for more trouble. Teng, while a good defender, loses some of his offense because he is forced to guard an offensive player on the opposing team. That could put him into foul trouble. And if he goes, there goes one slashing threat.
Karim Abdul is a swingman with terrific upside but the question is – will
he adjust to the Philippine collegiate game right away? In the pre-season, he showed that he can be of help while at times, he was grossly inconsistent. And what this team needs is consistency and dependability.
Ed Daquiaog provided that spark last year, although few and far between. It remains to be seen if he has brought a new dimension to his game because when the driving lanes were closed to him, he was pretty much a non-factor.
If Paolo Pe was looking for playing time after coming out of Ateneo High School, he sure got it with UST. He plays like Afuang minus the medium range jumper.
Jarencio is hoping that Juniors MVP Kevin Ferrer packed his sweet jumper with him to the college ranks. Long, lanky, and athletic, he will provide another scoring threat for the Tigers. And when you look at it, they’ve got a plethora of trey snipers – Fortuna, Teng, Bautista, Afuang on occasion, and Ferrer. They’re like the Dallas Mavericks of the Far East. The question is – who on this squad can approximate Tyson Chandler?
Jarencio is one of only two coaches in the UAAP who has been around since 2006. The other is Norman Black who has one more year of experience. But every other school has made at least two coaching changes. Jarencio has survived rumors of being removed and every year, he seems to produce a medium rabbit out of his hat. How many MVPs or Rookies of the Year have come out of España in that span of time?
There’s a feeling that good things are blowing UST’s way and this year is a step in the right direction. Jarencio will squeeze the most out of this squad with an uptempo game. If he can get more out of the bench (to give the starters some rest), then they can continuously move up the UAAP rankings.
Don’t be deceived by their lack of ceiling. They could rebound some. But this team is built on offense and their outside shooting. Short on size, the philosophy here is “the best defense is a good offense”. And it’s up to Fortuna and Jon Sheriff to show the way. For sure, they can put points on the board in a hurry.
Unfortunately for UST, everyone, save perhaps for UE, got longer, taller, and more athletic. They will still pull off some surprises.
C PF SF SG
PG Carmelo Afuang
Chris Camus Jeric Teng