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UST, SMC remain in talks

What’s wrong with the picture?

Nothing, really.

This is what University of Santo Tomas basketball team manager Waiyip Chong claimed on Tuesday, 14 February to dismiss reports that the Growling Tigers have struck a deal with San Miguel Corporation as their new backer as the school ramps up its Season 86 University Athletics Association of the Philippines campaign.

In a report by The Varistarian, the official organ of UST, a picture showed UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics regent and director Fr. Rodel Cansancio, OP and SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua last Monday having dinner with the coaching staff.

The occasion marked the formal appointment of Pido Jarencio as new head coach of UST, according to Chong, who earlier in the day, had met with the coaching staff and school rector Fr. Richard G. Ang, OP.

“Coach Pido invited us and then we had dinner in Quezon City and we invited Fr. Rodel (Cansiano). Coach Pido then invited Boss Al (Chua) to dinner and he accepted,” Chong said in a phone conversation.

“Until now, UST is still convincing San Miguel and Boss Al,” he added.

Tigers’ fans and alumni are hoping Chua, a former Glowing Goldie from 1985 to 1989, will back up the school, whose fortunes have changed in the last decade or so.

In Season 85, the Tigers posted a horrendous 1-13 win-loss mark in the eight-team cagiest.

Though the school is brushing off the ‘meeting’, SMC has a track record in helping struggling schools rise from mediocrity.

SMC was behind the success of another Dominican-run school Letran College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where Chua also played hoops during high school.

The Knights won titles in Season 95, 97 and 98.

Still, Jarencio swears that he doesn’t see the handwriting on the wall.

“All of us are hoping he will come on board. All of us have one goal and that’s to help UST rise again,” Jarencio said.

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