GILBERT Lao confirmed he submitted a letter of intent for the vacant coaching position at University of Santo Tomas.
The former UST cager is one of the coaches who have applied for the position, the others being fellow former alumni Siot Tanquingcen, Chris Cantonjos, Estong Ballesteros, Ed Cordero, Gilbert Lao, and Potit de Vera, and Rain or Shine assistant coach Chris Gavina.
The post is now vacant after Aldin Ayo resigned from the position following the controversial training bubble held at his home province of Sorsogon.
Lao, who played for UST back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said he applied for the position out of his desire to help the school not just to become winners on the court but also off it.
The former Growling Tiger said he was inspired by the way former Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela reinvigorated the Tamaraws basketball program where the priority is to become true student-athletes.
It is that same formula that Lao wants to instill with UST if chosen for the post.
“When I was still with FEU under coach Nash, it is really the process that we had to go through in establishing a 'winning' culture that we envisioned that I loved the most. Winning in a sense that players end up being better student athletes on and off the court,” said Lao in an interview with SPIN.
Incidentally, Lao is one of the assistant coaches of Racela at Blackwater in the PBA. They were also together when Racela was still with TNT.
“If given the chance, hopefully I can bring that to my alma mater,” added Lao, who will turn 42 on Sunday.
The Growling Tigers are on an overhaul in an offshoot of the so-called ‘Bicol bubble’ with CJ Cansino and Rhenz Abando leaving the school for University of the Philippines and Letran respectively.
Ayo has since been slapped with an indefinite ban by the UAAP, but the champion coach is appealing the collegiate league’s decision.