RAIN or Shine assistant coach Chris Gavina and former Technological Institute of the Philippines mentor Potit de Vera have thrown their names in the mix for the vacant head coaching post in University of Santo Tomas.
School insiders confirm that the two bench tacticians have submitted their applications as the Espana-based crew continues their search following the departure of Aldin Ayo courtesy of the controversial Bicol bubble.
Gavina, 41, is the first non-Thomasian to join in the search as he seeks his first job in the collegiate ranks.
A former strength and conditioning coach for the Philippine Patriots in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) and GlobalPort Batang Pier in the PBA, he worked as the lead deputy to Manny Pacquiao for Kia and steered the then-Mahindra Enforcer to the franchise's first and only quarterfinal appearance in the 2016 Governors' Cup.
He was formally named as the head coach of the Kia franchise starting in the 2017-18 season, but after just two games, parted ways with the team.
Gavina returned to the PBA in 2018, joining the Elasto Painters as an assistant coach to Caloy Garcia.
He also served as the head coach for Valenzuela Classic and now, with the Bacoor Strikers in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
On the other hand, the 44-year-old De Vera studied in UST from 1993 to 1997.
He previously worked as an assistant coach in University of the Philippines under coach Aboy Castro.
De Vera has since been the head coach of the Engineers since 2012 as he formed the TIP crew to one of the most competitive basketball programs outside of the UAAP and the NCAA, regularly competing in the PBA D-League and the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) until the athletic program's dissolution back in May.
If he gets the job, he won't really be that stranger to the Growling Tigers team as his former ward Bryan Santos has transferred to UST back in June.
Gavina and De Vera are just the latest names in the search, which already includes UST alumni Siot Tanquingcen, Chris Cantonjos, Estong Ballesteros, Ed Cordero, and Gilbert Lao.