Bismark Lina
Photo from Bismarck Lina's Twitter (@bismarcklina)
UST high school star Bismarck Lina stays home
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - February 27, 2020 - 7:57pm

MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cub Bismarck Lina is staying home, moving up to the senior Growling Tigers.

The Batang Gilas standout bared his decision to stay with a message to Philstar.com. 

“I chose to stay with UST kasi nandoon yung trust ko kay Coach Aldin (Ayo) at sa coaching staff na tuturuan nila ako na ma-develop as a player, and gusto ko makatulong sa team. And of course, my love for UST and the love of my family to UST as well,” he said.

The 6-foot-5 Lina was recruited by four UAAP schools and two NCAA teams. Following the end of UST’s juniors season where they narrowly missed the step-ladder series, the young Lina — who earned a SEABA gold medal with Batang Gilas in 2016 — took the time to listen to every pitch from all the schools that came after him. 

“We thought it was good manners to give time to every team,” said his uncle, Jong Ticsay. “And besides, one of them was Bismarck’s former coach so dapat lang marunong magbigay ng galang. But the priority was to stay with UST.”

As enticing as it was to play for another school, Lina’s family bleeds gold and black. Lina not only comes from a family of Thomasians, but his first cousin Kevin Ferrer played for UST, where he was a star who led the Tiger Cubs to a finals appearance and the Tigers to three finals berths.

As a youngster, Bismarck would watch his cousin lead the Tigers to multiple finals berths and the roar of the crowd chanting their cheers and singing their songs resonated deep within him.

After listening to every school that wanted to add him onto their roster, the Linas took five days to deliberate on the decision. But the choice rested on the broad shoulder of Bismarck.

With Lina staying in España, that means the last three stars of the Tiger Cubs — CJ Cansino, Mark Nonoy and Lina — have all moved up to the senior team. A UST insider who refused to be named said that their ability to keep their stars augurs well for their program. 

“It shows that our program can produce homegrown stars who want to help our college team win glory,” said the source. 

Perhaps more for Lina, he hopes that with his former teammates and new ones in the college ranks, it means that they will have the opportunity to bring back a title to UST (the last time they won was in 2006). 

“I want to help my school win a championship. That would mean a lot to my family and the school community,” he said.

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