BONG Dela Cruz will no longer serve as the head coach of University of Santo Tomas by next season, sources told Spin.ph on Saturday.
Persons with knowledge of the situation said Dela Cruz and the UST team have parted ways, just months after the former player led the Tigers to the best second in the UAAP eliminations before they lost to Far Eastern University in a title series that went the full three games.
The Tigers players have been informed about the change by UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics officials led by Fr. Ermito De Sagun, the source added.
The players, a source added, have also been asked to submit their profiles to be submitted to the next coach.
The source said UST rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy will have the final say on the head coaching situation, and will eventually make the official statement on the matter.
This early, one of the leading candidates being mentioned is Bal David, a former Barangay Ginebra cager who played for the multi-titled UST sides coached by Aric del Rosario in the 1990s.
David, who has held coaching and assistant coaching jobs in the defunct Philippine Basketball League and the PBA D-League, has applied for the post, according to a source.
It is not clear at the moment why UST decided to make the change after a finals appearance for the school. Sources said UST had already began practicing during the first week of January but training was recently called off.
Aside from David, former UST assistant coach Estong Ballesteros and another alumnus, Benet Palad are also in the running as they have also been approached by several quarters at UST to apply for the job.
Ballesteros served as an assistant during the term of UST coach Pido Jarencio and Dela Cruz, while Palad was a former teammate of Jarencio during the Glowing Goldies days in the 1980s.