Cantonjos to UST’s new coaches: ‘Sana ma-break nila yung 14-0 namin’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 22, 2018 07:32 PM
Cantonjos to UST coaches: ‘Sana ma-break nila 14-0 namin’
Now-former UST Tiger Cubs Chris Cantonjos says he will always bleed gold and black

Chris Cantonjos was nothing but proud of how University of Sto. Tomas has returned to relevance in the UAAP Juniors.

“Sobrang thankful ako sa mga players ko. Sabi ko nga sa kanila lagi, walang naniniwalang aakyat kami rito,” he told reporters after the Tiger Cubs lost to Nazareth School of National University last Wednesday, but still closed out their campaign with a semifinals finish.

It was the Espana-based squad’s first playoff appearance since the heyday of Kevin Ferrer.

And oh, the school also has its first MVP since Ferrer in CJ Cansino.

In his second season on the job, Cantonjos has indeed returned UST High to relevance.

Unfortunately, he won’t be around to oversee whether or not they continue rising.

Cantonjos also announced during that interview that he will be stepping down as head coach of the Tiger Cubs – and that his decision is final.

For the four-time UAAP champion and one-time UAAP MVP, his departure was caused by differences with the new head coach of the Growling Tigers. As he put it, “UST talaga ang puso ko. Worth fighting for ang UST kaya lang, may mali lang (dun sa) bagong pumasok ngayon.”

While he didn’t name names, Cantonjos has long said that the relationship between him and new UST Seniors mentor Aldin Ayo didn’t get off to the best of starts. “Sabi ko nga, yung support, naisantabi kami. I think I have the right to say something naman kasi hindi balanced yung nangyari,” he said.

He then continued, “Nung may pumalit na bago, nabalewala na kami.”

In Cantonjos’ eyes, that internal issue had an effect on the Tiger Cubs’ campaign. “Actually, itong pumasok yung second round, dun lang nag-umpisa. After that, hindi na kami naprotektahan talaga,” he said.

Ayo’s appointment was made official in early January. Reports stated he had complete control over Espana’s Men’s and Juniors basketball programs.

Then, NCAA Juniors champion coach Randy Alcantara was mentioned to be the man Ayo was eyeing to be guiding the Tiger Cubs – whatever happens with the campaign Cantonjos was overseeing.

The news broke around the same time of the start second round which then saw Cantonjos’ team go 2-5 and have to win two straight elimination games just to make the playoffs.

Even then, Cantonjos said he would have appreciated if Ayo would have just approached him to talk things over. “Ang gusto ko lang naman dati, sana nag-clarify man lang sila kung totoo o hindi totoo yun,” he said.

Along with being left unsure about his own status, Cantonjos said he also didn’t appreciate how UST Seniors’ new coaching staff was seen scouting Cansino several times – and failed to tell him about it. “Ito pa sana, pag nagre-recruit ng player, lumalapit muna sa coach. Yun ang number one,” he shared.

He then continued, “Kahit sinong coach ang tanungin niyo, respect, magpaalam sa coach. Kumbaga, (auto)matic na yun.”

Still, Cantonjos was again quick to clarify that he is, and will always be, supporting his alma mater.

In fact, he hopes that UST’s new coaching staff could lead the school back to glory. “I wish them good luck. Ilang years sila dun, sana makapag-champion sila,” he said, referring to reports that Ayo’s contract runs for six years.

He also added as some sort of a parting shot, though, “Sana ma-break nila yung 14-0 namin. Sana ma-break nila yun.”

Cantonjos, during his time as a Growling Tiger, helped his team go 14-0 in the 1993-1994 season.

That was a clean sweep of the elimination round which, back in those days, automatically awards the championship to the team that had gone unbeaten.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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