ESTONG Ballesteros considers his failure to land the head coaching job of University of Santo Tomas as a blessing in disguise.
“Naisip ko nga nung hindi ako nakuha sa UST, baka may plano ang nasa Taas. Napaganda pa nga,” said Ballesteros, who also confirmed to Spin.ph about his resignation as assistant coach of his alma mater on Thursday.
“Tingnan mo ngayon, dalawa ang team ko pero na-eenjoy ko kasama pamilya ko. Nahahatid ko na mga anak ko. Ang importante, may trabaho ako,” he added.
With his decision to finally leave the Espana-based school, Ballesteros can now concentrate on his work as deputy of Lawrence Chongson at Tanduay Light in the PBA D-League and as head coach of the Philippine National Police basketball squad.
Ballesteros said he already informed UST coach Bong Dela Cruz and school management about his decision to step down a few months back.
The former UST stalwart was part of the school’s glory days in the 1990s when it won four straight UAAP men’s titles from 1993 to 1996.
For a while, he was also considered as a candidate to the team’s head coaching job in lieu of Pido Jarencio.
But he stressed resigning from his UST job gives him more time to spend with his family while attending to his other coaching duties.
“Ayoko rin naman na suwelduhan ako sa UST pero may iba akong trabaho. Nahihiya rin ako sa UST. Kailangan ko rin ng space para sa pamilya ko,” he said.
Before Season 77, many were surprised when UST tapped Dela Cruz to replace Jarencio despite persistent reports saying Ballesteros was the frontrunner for the job.
Ballesteros served as Jarencio’s top lieutenant during his time with the Tigers.
He instead remained as assistant coach, although the Tigers missed the Final Four last season after tumbling to a 5-9 (win-loss) record.
Ballesteros, however, made it clear he has no ill-feelings towards the school for bypassing him as head coach prior to Season 77, saying everything is all part of the job and he’s taking the positives after what happened.
“Kasama sa pagiging coach ‘yan,” said Ballesteros when asked about the matter. “Kailangan wala kang sama ng loob sa kahit kanino. Part ng buhay ‘yan.”
And though he’s no longer part of the UST bench, Ballesteros said he will remain very supportive of his school.
“Tutulong pa rin ako. Kung kailangan nila ako, why not? Alumnus tayo diyan. Pinaglaban natin ‘yung school at diyan tayo galing eh. Kung saan ako galing, gusto ko silang tulungan,” said Ballesteros, who expressed gratitude to Jarencio, former UST head mentor Aric Del Rosario, and Chongson for molding his coaching career.