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Kent Pastrana fulfills promise to Haydee Ong: Bring championship back to UST

Before Kent Pastrana completed her transfer from De La Salle University to University of Santo Tomas, the UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year issued a promise to head coach Haydee Ong.

“Nag-promise din ako sa kanya bago ako pumasok dito bibigyan ko siya ng champion,” said Pastrana.

At the time the promise seemed not just bold, but unimaginable.

Women’s basketball in the UAAP for so many years went through the dynasty of National University, which regularly overwhelmed the compeittion with their sheer skill level.

Ong herself recalled the first few years of her program and how common it was for the Bulldogs to dominate teams from start to finish.

UAAP-86-Basketball-Coach-Haydee-Ong-15 Kent Pastrana fulfills promise to Haydee Ong: Bring championship back to UST Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news“When I was here in 2016, I had three months before the UAAP. I’m telling you hindi ako makatawid ng bola sa NU, ang lamang nila palagi sa aking 60, 80, but I never gave up,” explained Ong.

“Sabi ko, I will start a program for UST and this is a long journey. We are what, three to four years behind sabi ko sa mga pari, we have to trust the program.”

Fast forward to Season 86, when finally the seeds of Ong’s program bore fruit.

After a brutal 40 minutes of action, the Growling Tigers ended NU’s seven-season reign over the UAAP after a 71-69 nailbiter, as Pastrana fulfilled her promise to Ong all those years ago.

“Una sa lahat po sobrang happy po ako na parang hindi ko maexplain yung nararamdaman ko ngayon. Siyempre magpapasalamat muna ako kay Coach hHydee kasi grabe yung tiwala na binigay niya sa akin. Grabe yung responsibility ko dito,” shared an emotional Pastrana.

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UAAP86-WBB-Finals-G3-Kent-Pastrana-5149 Kent Pastrana fulfills promise to Haydee Ong: Bring championship back to UST Basketball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports newsThe 5-foot-7 wing was indispensable for UST’s coup of the NU regime. Pastrana dropped 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half when the Tigers were clawing themselves back into the game after going down by as much as 15.

Pastrana recalled the oath she swore to Ong before she transferred to UST, but she knew fulfilling it would have been impossible without the aid of the people around her.

“So parang ito na yun, yung dream come true, ito na yung binigay ko sa kanya.

“Hindi pa tapos ang year, papasalamat din ako sa teammates ko syiempre kasi hindi namin makukuha ito kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi namin ito makukuha. Pinaghirapan namin ito,” said the native of Silay City.

“Thank you sa mga coaches namin na sumuporta at nagtiwala sa amin isa’t isa. Ginawa namin yung best namin kung ano dapat namin gawin, hindi kami sumuko hanggang dulo kasi alam namin na ang panalo na sa dulo naman ng laban. Forty minutes of hell sabi nga ni coach, hangga’t kaya laban, hindi pa tapos ang laban. Magpatuloy hanggat saan mo kaya,” she expressed.

With two more playing years ahead of her under Ong’s tutelage, Pastrana knows there is still far more success awaiting ahead as they look to start their reign over UAAP Women’s Basketball.

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA

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