New UST coach Sablan grapples with ineligibility of Vigil, Sheriff.
Even before coach Rodil Boy Sablan could kickstart his campaign as the new head of the UST Growling Tigers, his plan already took a huge bump when UAAP ruled Louie Vigil and Jamil Sheriff overaged for the upcoming UAAP season.
Napilay lalo kami nung nawala si Vigil at Sheriff. Iilang player lang ang natira sa akin. Second year lang si Marvin Lee, third year si Renzo (Subido). Si Kent Lao lang at (Janrey) Garrido ang five years na at graduating. Kung titingnan mo, sino ang magiging player mo?, he said.
What hurt more was the loss of Vigil, who Sablan had pegged to be the go-to guy for the Growling Tigers this season.
Saan ko hahabulin yung minimum 10, 12, 15 points a game nya. Sino sa kanila ang kaya mag-step up?
But as he held his first practice at the UST Practice Gym on Wednesday, Sablan wants his players to just believe in themselves and get ready for a tough three month preparation before UAAP Season 79.
Ito na yung mga players na available at inabutan ko. Pipilitin naming gawin yung mga dapat naming gawin para maging competitive this coming UAAP season, he said.
From an enormous pool, Sablan and assistants Juben Ledesma, Gina Francisco, and Tylon Darjuan already cut the team in half, making the selection process a tad easier.
Hindi ko sila kilala eh. Ngayon ko lang sila nakita. Ayoko rin magtagal sa ensayo na ganyang kadami, parang palengke. Gusto ko makapag-focus na tayo dun sa 18 o 20 na eligible na pagpipilian natin, he said.
Sablan also said that no one is still a shoo-in for the lineup: Hindi porket veteran ka, sigurado ka na.
Tinitingan ko yung attitude, kung may attitude problem yung bata. Mabait ako pero kailangan sumunod ka. Kung kaya sumunod sa patakaran natin, sa mga rules natin, they can stay. Kung hindi, they are free to go. Hindi naman tayo mahigpit na mahigpit, kaya lang ilagay natin sa lugar. Sumunod tayo sa gagawin nating sistema.
With three months left to build a competitive lineup, Sablan is focused on getting the best out of this team.
We really have to double time, he said. We are planning to make practices in the morning and afternoon. I was talking to conditioning coach John (Aquino) at ipa-finalize pa namin yung schedule kasi hindi pwedeng masunog yung mga bata after three months. Dapat may timetable ka kung hanggang kailan pwedeng gawin yun bago mag-UAAP season.
And Sablan is positive that all this hard work will eventually bear fruit in the end.
Gagawin namin lahat at pagtutulungan yan. In God's grace, may purpose kami kaya andito kami ngayon. Naniniwala naman ako na may mararating ang team na ito.