THERE’S nothing like the good old days of playing for the love of the game.
In this time when bonuses and perks have become a norm in college basketball, former Barangay Ginebra stalwart Bal David would want to instill back in the players’ mindset the passion of playing the sport not as individuals but as a team.
David cited that teamwork approach as the major contributing factor for the success of University of Santo Tomas when it reigned as UAAP basketball kings in the 90s.
“Walang star player, lahat tulong-tulong parang isang pamilya lang,” said David who was part of two championships by the Espana-based school in 1993 and 1994. “Di lang kami isang team, kundi isang pamilya kami. Gusto ko maging ganyan na yung tradition ng Tigers.”
The 45-year-old David is among those being considered for the next coaching job of UST to replace Boy Sablan. Champion coaches Aldin Ayo and Pido Jarencio have been the frontrunners for the position owing to their high-profiled credentials.
The underdog that he is, David said such attitude is the kind he wants to infuse to the Tigers if and when he gets to land the coaching job.
“I just want the players to experience yung sacrifices natin nung nasa UST pa tayo. Yung tipong kahit maliit na playing time, iga-grab mo yung opportunity para makapag pahinga yung mga senior players at makatulong sa team,” he stressed.
“Yan ang gusto kong iinject sa mga players na pag naging seniors na sila, makukuha ng mga bench players yung attitude na makatulong sa team.”
David went through the same path during his time with the Tigers, playing as back-up playmaker to a deadly UST backcourt manned by seasoned players Siot Tanquingcen, Binky Favis, Udoy Belmonte, and Patrick Fran.
Eventually, he earned his spot as a regular fixture in coach Aric del Rosario’s rotation, and got his biggest moment in UAAP history when he sank the game-winning free throws in the final seconds of the Tigers’ thrilling 77-76 win over De La Salle in the deciding Game Three of the 1994 finals to give the school the second of its four straight men’s basketball titles.
He went on and became a star as the starting point guard of Ginebra under legendary playing-coach Robert Jaworski Sr, with whom he won a PBA championship in the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup.
Under Jaworski, David valued even more the meaning of hard work in playing the game.
“Gusto din sana nating makapag-produce ng mga klase ng players na may grit maglaro at hindi lang puro pansarili ang iniisip,” he stressed. “I’m pretty sure sila din naman ang magbe-benefit nun in time. Para na rin sa mga mahal nila sa buhay or maybe, after ng karera nila.
“Alam naman natin it’s hard lalo na sa panahon ngayon. Pero meron pa ring mga ganyan. It’s worth trying. We’ll take our chances and I’ll take the risk.”
As a sign of respect, David also got the blessing of Jarencio before he submitted his coaching application to UST management.