Many metrics prove the eye test: the UST Growling Tigers were the worst team in the UAAP men’s basketball during the first round.

The Tigers were the only team to shoot below 30 percent from the field this season, and they did so twice. They scored 60.86 points per game (ppg) in the first round, the lowest in the league, while allowing opponents to score 74.29 ppg. On the average, the Tigers got outscored by 13.43 points per game in the first round, where they only won one of seven games.

Many UST fans and alumni were frustrated, and rightfully so, as the Tigers fell short of the school’s golden standard. After all, the men’s basketball team hasn’t won a UAAP championship since 2008. De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University won between them 11 of the last 14 UAAP championships.

Some have directed their frustrations towards rookie head coach Bal David, who was handed the keys to the team only in July.

Blaming David for UST’s disappointing season is a reach. It is not his fault he had been dealt a bad hand: he had to coach a combination of his own recruits and the remnants of the Aldin Ayo and Jinino Manansala eras. Additionally, he had to deal with the sudden departures of Sherwin Concepcion, Bryan Santos, Gani Stevens, Willie Wilson, and Kean Baclaan.

As UST IPEA Director Fr. Rodel Cansancio, OP, said in a statement to the Varsitarian, “Coach Bal and his coaching staff are doing their best to expedite the adaptation of his system to his current players. It is really disappointing to lose, but the team is doing its best.”

The UST rebuild hasn’t even started yet. Cansancio even hinted that the Tigers would undergo a further revamp after the season, for David and his staff to get the players they think would fit their system.

It is also an overreaction to call for the total revamp of the management of UST’s basketball program, including the hiring of team managers that would practically keep school administrators from handling the Tigers. Our dear alumni must have forgotten that it was only in 2019 when the Tigers showed promise and reached the UAAP finals but lost to an invincible Ateneo team. It is unfortunate that this team has been torn down because of the Sorsogon issue, but its relative success over a short time is proof that the school has the ability to build a competitive basketball team.

UST fans must trust the process. They must realize that there are growing pains in every rebuilding process.

They should also trust that the Dominicans and UST planners and administrators are not strangers to the management of UST’s athletics program. UST was just awarded the UAAP general championship for the fifth-straight time since 2016 in Season 84, which made the school a 45-time general champion in the seniors’ division.

While the ever-passionate UST fans are not wrong for wanting the Tigers to achieve more, they must be rational. Rome wasn’t rebuilt in one day.


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