Pido Jarencio lamented that Adama Faye, Unviversity of Santo Tomas’ 6-foot-8 Senegalese big man, played limited minutes due to injury in his team’s 80-70 opening-day defeat to host school University of the East in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Faye only suited up for eight minutes and 32 seconds in the first half, producing one point and three rebounds before not participating after the halftime break.
Jarencio was left contemplating what could have been if his foreign student-athlete had been 100 percent healthy.
“Bad start kami,” said Jarencio, who is making his return to the team after 10 years. “We’re not making our shots, we are not playing defense and then Adame Faye is injured. Sinubukan lang namin. Siyempre [having an] import is a big difference for the team. ‘Yong mga bata naman lumaban, actually, noong nilabas ko nga ‘yong mga locals, tumabla kami 22-all.
“And then, I’m not sourgraping. Nagkaroon ulit. Sinubukan ko ulit. Lumayo. ‘Yong momentum na sa kanila. Pero noong third and fourth quarters gmanda naman iyong defense namin. Na-limit namin sila, ‘yong target naming point guards. Ang problema, we were not making our shots. We are stopping, but we are not making our shots. Iba iyong naka-stop ka tapos nakaka-shoot ka. Makukuha mo iyong momentum at the same time makakahabol ka. Iyon ang story of the game.”
With Faye sidelined, UE’s own foreign student-athlete Precious Momowe took advantage of the Growling Tigers’ lack of height.
Momowei contributed 17 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks in 30 minutes and 57 seconds on the floor in his debut for the Red Warriors.
Despite playing without Faye for most of the game, the Growling Tigers managed to grab 50 rebounds and score 32 points in the paint compared to the Red Warriors’ 38 and 20, respectively.
“May back injury siya eh.
“Actually, that was [only] three weeks or one month ago. Tapos akala namin okay na siya and then pinilit kong gamitin. Sabi niya he’s good, ‘yon pala talagang masakit pa rin. Di ko naman pwedeng sabihin iyong injured players namin kaya lang nakita kanina. Sinubukan namin talagang masakit pa rin iyong likod niya. Siyempre iba pa rin iyong mga import ka. ‘Yong kabila may import eh,” he bared.
Still, Jarencio remained jovial despite experiencing defeat in his return as UST coach after 10 years.
The Growling Tigers have now lost 14 straight games, dating back to Season 85. The erstwhile NCC standout’s positivity was infectious, though, as UST appeared to be revitalized for the most part.
One lesson learned from this game, however, is that only those fit to play will be called upon to compete on the floor. The Growling Tigers learned this the hard way today, and they will ensure it won’t be the same case next time.
“Basta kami adjustment, adjustment, adjustment. Looking forward kami basta ang usapan kung sino ang healthy, you’ll play. Pag hindi ka healthy, pahinga ka na lang. Diyan ka na lang, hindi ka namin isasama. Ganu’n lang kasimple,” said Jarencio.
“Siyempre Adamson iyan with coach Nash Racela. Medyo malakas din iyong team na iyon. Pero kami we’ll be ready against Adamson. Medyo ngayon siyempre may opening game jitters. Ako nga ninenerbyos din kanina eh. Pero ang saya, masaya iyong college basketball.”