AS the race to the Final Four hits its final stretch, University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio finds confidence in the fact that the Tigers’ destiny is in their own hands.
With UST in solo second at 9-3 (win-loss) after a streak of six straight wins during one hot stretch, the Tigers are on course to clinching a top-two finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four - if ever a first for the school since the Aric Del Rosario era.
“Hindi katulad ng mga nakaraang taon, ngayon diktado namin ang sitwasyon at destiny namin,” said Jarencio. “Ngayon, alam namin kung saan kami papunta, hindi katulad na dati na naka-depende sa ibang teams ‘yung chances namin. Ngayon ang inaayos ko na lang sa team, kung paano kami aakyat.”
During Jarencio's first year as coach in 2006, UST had to work itself back in contention from a 2-4 win-loss start before clinching a Final Four spot in third place. The Tigers went on to win that title year against Ateneo.
In the past few seasons, however, the Tigers always fell short of a top-two finish and the twice-to-beat privilege that goes with it. They have not returned to the Finals since.
Back-to-back victories have now moved Jarencio closer to a first twice-to-beat position in his tenure as UST coach.
The Tigers’ next outing will be against Ateneo on Saturday before they wrap up the eliminations against University of the East on September 20.
“Ang record namin sa second round, 2-2, kaya ‘yung mga natitirang games namin, importante kung nasa number one tayo or number two. Tinalo ng UE ang Ateneo kaya hindi pwedeng balewalain lahat ng teams dito kasi nag-pick up na laro ng mga teams sa second round,” said Jarencio.