When Pido Jarencio was formerly introduced to University of Santo Tomas as the new head coach of the Growling Tigers, Nic Cabanero stood beside him.
The 19-year-old Cebuano listened to every word the UST legend said.
Of course, he was starstruck as he has heard of the feats the ‘Fireman’ had during his days in UST and in the PBA. He has also watched the legendary run Jarencio’s Tigers made during UAAP Season 69.
“Nakikita ko talaga sa kanya na ang galing niya as motivator and at the same time a good coach. Iba talaga aura niya eh, makikinig at makikinig ka talaga,” Cabanero shared to Tiebreaker Times.
“Laki ng respeto and tiwala ko sa kanya and I’m sure hindi lang ako, pati naman yung mga teammates ko ganun din ang naramdaman.”
Just like the UST faithful, Cabanero hopes that Jarencio will be the shining light that leads the Growling Tigers out of the cellar.
Despite his numbers of 17.62 points, 6.62 rebounds, and 2.85 assists for UAAP Season 85, the Growling Tigers only racked up one win.
Having watched Cabanero from afar, Jarencio knows the capabilities of the incoming junior. Moreover, he has seen his frustrations.
That is why Jarencio begged Cabanero to do just one thing through this process — trust him.
“Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Papagalingin pa kita lalo at yung team natin. Ako ang bahala sa inyo. Tiwala ka lang sa akin.'”
During his first stint as UST head coach, Jarencio steered the Growling Tigers to a championship back in UAAP Season 69. He also guided the team to three finals appearances.
This time around, he inherits a team that is intact. In addition, he has the benefit of having a long preparation as UAAP Season 86 will only begin later this year.
And Cabanero can’t wait for what’s in store for him and the Tigers.
“Super excited ako, to be honest. Of course, knowing Coach Pido, siya ang last na nagpa-champion ng UST way back in 2006, so no excuses at all,” he said.
“Long preparation ito compared to last season. I’m sure that the coaches will do everything for us to improve and be ready,” he continued.
“Tiwala lang sa ‘Pride, Puso, Palaban.'”