UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas would always have a soft spot in the heart of Bal David.
The former Barangay Ginebra star and Santo Tomas alumnus hopes to give back to his beloved alma mater as he joins the short list of individuals being considered as the next coach of the Growling Tigers.
David, 45, is aware he could be the darkhorse in the choice to take over the job left by former coach Boy Sablan, but is more than willing to do everything in his capacity to help UST regain its winning culture if and when he is chosen to be the team’s next coach.
“Mabigat ang labanan sa mga applicants. Pero tayo naman baka sakali lang. Alam mo naman gaano natin pinahahalagahan ang UST,” David said following a short chat with SPIN.ph Saturday.
David, hero of the Tigers’ 1994 back-to-back championship team after sinking the two pressure-packed free throws in the dying seconds of the decisive Game 3 of the finals to beat the La Salle Green Archers, 77-76, isn’t aware of who are those in the running for the coaching job.
He admitted, however, of hearing about former UST player Bonnie Tan, school teammate Estong Ballesteros, and current La Salle mentor Aldin Ayo as among the ones being considered by the school.
Of the above names, David said Ayo seems to be the frontrunner.
“Matunog nga si coach Aldin (Ayo), ganda daw kasi ng program na naiwan sa Letran,” said David, who was once the trusted point guard of legendary Robert Jaworski Sr. during his playing days with the Kings.
“I think si Estong din nasa listahan," added 'The Flash,' who's the lead playmaker of Barangay Ginebra governor and SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua during their championship days with Stag in the defunct Philippine Basketball League.
A two-time PBA champion and four-time All-Star, David, also a member of the 1993 UST team that completed a historic 14-game sweep of the season to win the title, disclosed having talked to former Tigers champion coach Pido Jarencio about the matter.
“Nakausap ko na rin si coach Pido, sign of respect lang,” he said. “Okay naman siya, at least alumni din naman tayo ng school.”
David once handled the Fern-C franchise and served as part of the coaching staff of the Liver Marin team in the PBA D-League.
Currently, he handles coaching clinics among the youth on a year-round basis and frequently joins fellow former PBA players seeing action in the ‘Legends Tour’ basketball games outside the country.
But he’ll always find time to lend a help to UST if he’s asked to.
“I wanna help my alma mater. Siyempre masakit din naman na nakikita mong natatalo yung school mo. So kung makakatulong ka rin lang, why not,” said David, best remembered for his iconic two, long buzzer-beating shots during his stint with Ginebra from 1995 to 2004.
For the second straight UAAP season, the Tigers limped home last in the team standings with a 1-13 record and failed to qualify for the Final Four, prompting the school to replace Sablan, also a former UST player in the 80s.
Under two seasons with Sablan at the helm, the Tigers registered a 4-24 (win-loss) record. He took over a season after the school came a win short of regaining the men’s basketball title following its Game 3 loss to Far Eastern University, with Segundo ‘Bong’ Dela Cruz as coach.