THE former head coach of De La Salle who suffered a pair of heartbreaking runner-up finishes in the UAAP Finals during the 90s against University of Santo Tomas feels the Growling Tigers are at it again.
Virgil Villavicencio said the Tigers have the edge against the up-and-coming Green Archers in their ongoing best-of-three title series owing to their savvy and experience, which he believes is a big factor in a championship showdown.
“Feeling ko liyamado ang UST because of its experience,” said Villavicencio. “La Salle is building up. But who knows? On the other hand, you have a deeper bench at La Salle. But the experience is the main factor.”
Villavicencio steered the Archers to back-to-back Finals stints during the 1994 and 1995 seasons behind a team composed of Mark Telan, Elmer Lago, Allen Glenn Patrimonio, Jason Webb, Juno Sauler, and Tony Boy Espinosa.
On both occasions though, the Taft-based squad lost to UST.
Now the media relations officer of the MVP Group, Villavicencio said he has already moved on following those two heartbreaking losses, although he admitted being stung by La Salle’s second straight championship loss in 1995.
“Siyempre in the beginning, okay lang. Pero nung pangalawa, naiisip ko, ano ba ang kulang pa?”
“During that time, we are not that experienced. Iba talaga pag UST. We missed (the title) on both occasions on one basket. Kumbaga, breaks lang talaga,” he recalled.
More than playing for the championship, Villavicencio was especially happy for two of his players in Sauler and Tyrone Bautista, who both led La Salle men’s and women’s basketball team to the finals this season.
“I’m happy with the way things are happening. Juno is back and Tyrone is coaching the women’s. ‘Yun ang tinitignan ko. I’m happy for them,” he said.