UAAP: Applying for head coach, Chris Gavina envisions 'same level of passion, desire' for UST Tigers

Chris Gavina
Chris Gavina, in file photo, confirms his application as head coach for the UST Tigers. (PBA)

Rain or Shine assistant coach Chris Gavina confirmed Friday that he is applying for the coaching job at University of Santo Tomas' men’s basketball team, joining a list composed mostly of alumni.

Gavina said he envisions the squad would remain passionate in giving glory to the university despite the challenges they are currently facing with the departure of five players and three coaches including head tactician Aldin Ayo.

“I can only assess what I witnessed them achieve last year,” Gavina told the Manila Bulletin.

“The emergence of Mark Nonoy and (Rhenz) Abando were obviously critical in UST’s finals run, and although key elements of that team may have left, the remaining core of players still carry over that feeling of accomplishment from last year.”

READ: Knights welcome 3 ex-Tigers

Abando was one of five players who left the team in the wake of the Sorsogon training bubble controversy, along with CJ Cansino, Brent Paraiso, Ira Bataller and Jun Asuncion.

Ayo tendered his resignation days before the UAAP banned him indefinitely for being responsible for the training bubble that allegedly defied government protocols.

“From the way these players have carried themselves with tremendous fortitude, grit and persevering spirit, it would be preposterous for anyone, including myself, to not envision anything else but the same level of desire and passion of the team to represent UST to best of their God-given abilities,” the 41-year-old coach of the Bacoor Strikers in the MPBL also said.

Gavina’s name floated in the latest list of coaching candidates along with Potit De Vera, a UST alumnus who has been coaching Technical Institute of the Philippines since 2012 until its disbandment last May due to the pandemic.

Early candidates are PBA champion coach Sio Tanquingcen, former UST juniors mentor Chris Cantonjos, University of the East assistant coach Estong Ballesteros, former UAAP basketball commissioner Ed Cordero and Blackwater Elite assistant coach Gilbert Lao.