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Sablan ecstatic to field own UST roster

MANILA, Philippines — It’s make or break for University of Santo Tomas head coach Boy Sablan.

Inheriting a team and its kinks in the previous season, the sophomore mentor is a fresh take with the Tigers as he is infusing eight new faces into the fold.

“Ako ang bumuo nito,” he said of the Growling Tigers’ latest iteration. “Dumating ako last year na buo na eh. Ngayon, ito, hindi man naglaro ‘yung ibang mga player ngayon, mas gusto ko ‘to.”

“Mas gusto ko ‘yung mga ni-recruit ko ‘yung mga maglalaro para sa akin, na alam mga kakayananan nila. [Last year] wala akong choice kung hindi patakbuhin ‘yung team na ‘yun,” he explained.

Sablan, who served as a deputy to champion UST coach Pido Jarencio in the magical 2006-07 season, added that he is also upbeat on this crew’s chances as they had more time to prepare.

“Last year, wala [kaming] nasalihang liga,” he shared. Unlike ngayon, merong (liga sa) Malolos, merong FilOil, mayroon sa Agusan, ‘yung Bayugan. Then itong Davao (Kadayawan).”

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“Sa tune-up games, pumunta kami ng Baguio, we went to Subic. Hindi ko nagawa ‘yang mga ‘yan last year. So ang laki ng mga exposure ng mga players,” he stressed.

And with prep time and personnel all going the way he’s planned, Sablan could only hope that he improves on last year’s dismal outing and regain the Tigers’ contender status.

“Ang laki nung changes,” he shared like a giddy kid.

Sablan and the Tigers can showcase how much they have improved from being last year’s whipping boys when they lock horns with the UP Fighting Maroons this Sunday.

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