PATRICK Fran is savoring the opportunity to return to his alma mater, this time as one of the assistant coaches of University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP.
Concurrently holding a job as an assistant coach at PBA ballclub Meralco, Fran was offered to join the Growling Tigers following the coaching change that saw the departure of Bong dela Cruz and the assumption of Boy Sablan to the UST head-coaching position.
Fran wasn't about to pass up the chance.
“I was really happy. Sabi nila Fr. (Ermito) De Sagon (UST athletic director) and coach Boy Sablan, whatever time you can give, kasi halos sabay ‘yung practice ng UST and Meralco,” said Fran.
Fran, who went on to have an 11-year career in the PBA after his time with the Tigers, accepted the offer from UST after consulting his family and Meralco.
“I’m very thankful to boss Paolo Trillo (Meralco team manager) and coach Norman Black (Meralco coach) for allowing me to do this,” said Fran.
Fran was a defensive lynchpin for the Growling Tigers from 1989 to 1993, winning the championship in his final year with a powerhouse UST team that completed a historic season sweep.
His older brother, Raymund, also played for the Tigers in the eighties while a first cousin, Rey Evangelista, was also part of those UST champion teams led by Dennis Espino.
Now 43, Fran is tasked to help improve UST’s defense this season and he has high hopesthat the Growling Tigers can transform into a competitive squad during the course of Season 79.
But more than anything else, Fran is happy to be back in school.
“It always feels good because it’s my alma mater. I grew up in a Dominican community. I started in Aquinas in San Juan since high school, then college, Aquinas pa rin (UST),” said Fran.