LONGTIME University of Santo Tomas assistant coach Estong Ballesteros looms as the top candidate for the school’s head-coaching job once Pido Jarencio officially takes the offer to become the next mentor of Globalport in the PBA.
Although no official decision has been made on the matter, a source said the Espana-based school is not inclined at the moment to look elsewhere for a possible replacement in the event Jarencio leaves a team he has led to one UAAP championship and two trips to the Finals the past two seasons.
Ballesteros is expected to be endorsed by Jarencio himself for the position.
Spin.ph has reported on Thursday that Jarencio, a former PBA star and one of the most colorful personalities in the college game, is being eyed to take over from interim coach Ritchie Ticzon by Batang Pier team owner Mikee Romero.
Ballesteros has been the top deputy of Jarencio for some time now, even handling the team during the times when Jarencio was not around during preseason tournaments.
Ballesteros, who briefly played as a pro, was a key member of UST’s championship teams in the nineties and anchored the Tigers’ title run in 1996, the same year he lost to Mark Telan in the race for the league’s MVP award at the height of the famed UST-La Salle rivalry.
It was actually not the first time Jarencio is set to leave UST after nearly accepting the head coaching job of Barako Bull last year. Negotiations, however, broke down.
But this time, Romero, sources said, is deadset on hiring Jarencio who the owner feels is a perfect fit for a team that wants to be known as a hard-fighting unit.
The two parties are close to sealing a deal on a contract, sources added, after which Jarencio is expected to formally part ways with the UST Tigers.