UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas continues to retool as it secured the commitments of LA Casinillo and Royce Mantua.
Growling Tigers mentor Jinino Manansala confirmed the development as he added two more studs in España.
"Our team has really been depleted and we are hoping we could rush things up to be ready when tournaments begin," he told Spin.ph.
"We are a long way to go and we continue to seek good replacements for the losses we suffered. Aside from our holdovers, we are mostly composed of new recruits. We will never know how far we have gone and how ready we would be until the actual games resume. It is very hard to form a highly competitive team given all the IATF restrictions, but we are taking it with baby steps through our Zoom trainings. We are relying much on the individual responsibilty of each player to be ready when the time comes."
Casinillo, a 6-foot-1 guard, is a former Cesafi Juniors MVP who committed to UST High School last year. He's currently in the United Kingdom.
Mantua, on the other hand, is a 6-foot-4 Fil-Aussie winger who last played for Far Eastern University-Diliman and nabbed 2.9 points in 5.0 minutes of play after nine games for the Baby Tamaraws. He's currently in Australia.
Manansala said that the team is only waiting for the return of face-to-face classes to formally welcome the new recruits.
The pair joins Jordi Gomez de Liano, a product of University of the Philippines Integrated School, as the new faces for UST.
They are looked at as building blocks moving forward as they connive with holdovers like UAAP Season 82 MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo, Sherwin Concepcion, and Dave Ando.
"The team is staying afloat despite the pandemic because of the endearing commitment of our remaining players as well as the hopeful driving dreams of our newcomers. The UST community has continued to believe in our program and solidly supports our aspirations and needs. We are exercising the utmost patience given the circumstances. The UST Fathers and the alumni really lift us up and continue to inspire us. We are simply grateful for what we have and we look forward to more blessings to come in any form," said Manansala.
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