With players he recruited himself, Sablan confident about UST bounce back

Alvin Laqui on Sep 06, 2017 01:34 PM
Sablan confident about UST bounce back
FRESH SLATE. UST's incoming batch of rookies was handpicked by Sablan himself.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 3-11, tied for seventh and eighth

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Jeepy Faundo, Marvin Lee

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Steve Akomo, Christian Garcia, Jordan Sta. Ana

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Jon Sherriff, Renzo Subido, Louie Vigil

A dismal UAAP Season 79 outing served as a huge wakeup call for a University of Sto. Tomas side which was coming off a runner-up finish the year prior.

Fielding a roster of "role players," as head coach Boy Sablan put it last season, the Tigers slowly but surely plunged into a 3-11 campaign that included historically lopsided losses to eventual champions De La Salle University.

Revisiting the past year, point guard Marvin Lee quickly pointed out that even the players themselves were caught off-guard by their sudden drop-off from relevance.

"Di namin inexpect, kahit kami nagulat parang every game, bibigay namin best namin pero ganun talaga nangyari," Lee said.

But this is a new season, and Lee, along with the rest of the Tigers, are just looking forward to a new beginning.

"Inisip namin may purpose yung mga nangyari," Lee bared. "Yung purpose nun, para matuto kami, malaman namin na may kailangan pa kaming i-improve. Yung time kasi na yun, rebuilding kami."

Echoing his ward's statement, Sablan started their training early, adding that a longer period of preparation this time around will help the team immensely.

"Yung preparations, mahaba. Longer preparation from yung preparation last year," Sablan said. "We had eight months preparations this year. Last year about two months, so difference is malaki, mas malayo."

Another difference and perhaps major improvement for the España-based squad is their incoming batch of rookies that was handpicked by Sablan himself.

"I have eight new faces to play in Season 80," voiced Sablan. "Yung eight new faces are the players that I recruited last year."

Sablan continued, "Last year, I did not have any one player that I have chosen to play."

Leading the way for the new recruits is Filipino-Canadian Ben Kwawukumey, a spitfire point guard who'll be able to learn from the battle-hardened veteran Lee.

While their foreign reinforcement Steve Akomo is awaiting the result of his ineligibility probe, the Tigers are still backed by an equal distribution of returnees and a new batch of freshmen that could retrieve some of the pride that was lost from the faithful over in España.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @alvinlaqui.

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