Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times


Ababou mourns loss of UST’s ‘Drillmaster’

The Globalport Batang Pier entered the SMART-Araneta Coliseum with heavy hearts Wednesday afternoon. They had just lost a close family member earlier in the day when coach Senen Dueñas, an assistant coach for Globalport, past away earlier due to complications from a chest surgery.

“Very emotional on our team kasi they really worked hard for this. Two days ago, we saw in their eyes talagang they are pushing each other. They didn’t want to lose this game,” lead assistant coach Eric Gonzales shared. “Tapos may mga nangyari, nawala si coach Senen Duenas. Very close siya sa mga players. Dinedicate nila ito para sa kanya.”

Dueñas’ loss hit close to home for Dylan Ababou. During his stint with the UST Growling Tigers, the man known as the “Drillmaster” was a vital member of the UST staff — especially during their golden run back in the 69th season of the UAAP.

When Ababou was traded to the Globalport Batang Pier last March 29, he immediately looked for Dueñas during his first practice with his new home. However, days had past but his mentor was nowhere to be found.

“Actually di pa nga kami nagkita sa practice.

“Nagtataka ako bakit wala pa rin si coach Senen. Tapos one time nakausap ko nga siya, ooperahan nga daw. Ooperahan pa lang siya nun,” the six-year league veteran shared.

Once he knew about it, Ababou took the initiative to be the one to visit Dueñas at the Delos Santos Medical Center in Araneta Avenua, Quezon City.

“Actually, kahapon ng mga 1:00 pm, dinalaw ko pa siya pero medyo nahihilo-hilo na siya.

“Tinanong ko siya kung kilala niya ako, sinabi naman pangalan ko pero parang gusto niya matulog tapos kumbaga bubukas yung mata tapos pipikit ulit kasi nahihilo-hilo nga siya dahil dun sa surgery,” Ababou recalled as he tried to fight off tears.

“Pero okay pa siya eh, di nga namin akalain. Pag-gising ko this morning ang dami na nagte-text sakin akala ko di totoo.”

Back in 2009, Ababou was hailed as the UAAP’s Most Valuable Player. The Growling Tigers though dreaded their workouts, a system perfected by Dueñas throughout the years.

#ReadMore  UST Growling Tigers held 3x3 sessions, farming seminars in Bicol bubble, says Varsi report

And a day prior to their Final Four encounter with eventual-champions Ateneo, the former UST Golden Booter gathered the team. But it was not just for a normal pep talk, Dueñas wanted to apologize to his team.

“Nung papunta na kaming Final Four, pinulong niya kaming lahat tapos kinausap niya lahat kami. Maya-maya umiiyak na siya so nagulat kami bakit umiiyak si coach Senen,” the now 30-year-old vividly recalled.

“Tapos sinabi niya kaya ko lang naman kayo pinapahirapan kasi mahal na mahal ko kayo, para pagdating niyo sa ibang coaches, pagdating niyo sa PBL, sa national team, sa PBA, sanay na kayo sa mga mahihirap na training tsaka mababagsik na coaches. Kumbaga hinahanda ko kayo sa future, yung character niyo yung ine-enhance ko.”

Up until this day, the effects of rigorous practices the Drillmaster is known for is still being felt. Cagers like Ababou, Jervy Cruz, Allein Maliksi, Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, and many other former Tigers are flourishing with their PBA careers, surviving hard-nosed mentors like Tim Cone, Yeng Guiao, and Norman Black.

As they continue to go up the ranks, so does the memory and the legacy of coach Senen Duenas.

Written By

You May Also Like


Two good friends are hoping to reunite at España. Gilas Pilipinas Youth standouts Renzo Competente and Zain Mahmood are looking to commit University of...


University of Santo Tomas will welcome a new addition to its staff as it commences preparations for UAAP Season 87. Champion coach Juno Sauler...


CJ Cansino left University of the Philippines a hero. In four years spent in Diliman, he overcame a full anterior cruciate ligament tear, delivering...


Nic Cabañero felt that he could have done better for University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The 20-year-old...


University of Santo Tomas did not have its ideal Season 86 in men’s basketball, finishing at the bottom for the second straight year with...


When Pido Jarencio finally made his much-awaited return to University of Santo Tomas, the school faithful expected that it would be the start of...


University of Santo Tomas repeated its conquest of Far Eastern University, 57-53, to close its UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball campaign on a good...


University of the Philippines boosted its drive for a playoff incentive in the coming UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four after cruising past...