UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio was gracious enough to give the Ateneo Eagles credit for winning their fifth straight UAAP men’s basketball championship Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The outspoken mentor said the breaks just didn’t come the Tigers’ way as Juami Tiongson and Kiefer Ravena buried crucial baskets one after the other in the stretch run to seal the Blue Eagles’ 65-62 win in Game Two for a sweep of the best-of-three Finals.
“Breaks of the game lang ‘yung lahat. Na-shoot ni Juami yung last shot. Para sa kanila talaga ‘yun,” said Jarencio in the post-game interview. “Hats off to coach Norman, five years nakuha niya championship.”
Jarencio, whose heated exchange of words with Black obviously added color and drama to the 75th season Finals, said it was generally a successful season for UST, which clinched the No. 2 spot in the eliminations, and reached the Finals by defeating National University in the Final Four.
“Hindi naman kami pinag-uusapan dito… Nag-twice-to-beat pa kami. May mga controversies nung second round, pero andoon ‘yung team,” said the one-time UST star player.
Unlike in Game One where he was critical about officiating, Jarencio was mum about it this time.
“Wala naman. Tapos na ‘yun. Nag-katawagan, nanalo sila, tapos. Okay naman sa lahat,” Jarencio said.
The loss marked the end of Jeric Fortuna’s stint with the Tigers, and so did Melo Afuang. Fortuna capped his final playing year with UST by scoring 20 points to make up for his lackluster four-point outing in the series opener.
But even without Fortuna and Afuang, Jarencio is optimistic about next season.
“Si Teng andyan pa, si Bautista dalawa (taon) pa, si Karim (Abdul) tatlong taon pa, si Kevin Ferrer andyan pa, medyo okay pa ‘yan. Mas lalong titibay yan kasi nagkaroon ng championship experience,” said Jarencio.
Jarencio however, is also pondering about his future with the team.
“Ako, pitong taon na ako dito, limang Final Four, dalawang Finals appearance, isang championship. Puwede na sana um-exit eh. Pero hindi mission accomplished. Nag-isip pa tuloy ako,” he said.
“Tignan ko by January kung ano desisyon ko. Pagod lang siguro ako kaya kung ano-ano ang iniisip ko,” said Jarencio, who renews his deal with his alma mater on a yearly basis.
Following the UAAP, Jarencio will now concentrate on his duties with Petron in the PBA where he serves as assistant coach.