MANILA, Philippines — Aries Dimaunahan never cracked the University of Santo Tomas lineup during the team’s golden age when it won four straight UAAP championships in the 90s.
But that experience did more good than harm as Dimaunahan went on to have a long PBA career and later pursue a coaching career.
Still grateful for his years at UST, Dimaunahan hopes to give back to his school after throwing his hat in the Growling Tigers’ coaching search.
“It would be a great honor and privilege if I will be given the opportunity to be of service to our beloved university and be part of the molding of the next generation of basketball players,” Dimaunahan told INQUIRER.net Tuesday.
“I know it will not be easy but the competitive spirit and pride of the whole UST community are enough reasons for me to be excited and committed to take on the challenge.”
There has been no shortage of candidates for the head coaching job at UST since Aldin Ayo stepped down from the post and later banned indefinitely by the UAAP over his role in the Sorsogon bubble scandal.
The controversy has also blown up UST’s once promising core with key pieces Rhenz Abando, Mark Nonoy and Ira Bataller gone along with former skipper CJ Cansino, Brent Paraiso, Deo Cuajao and Jun Asuncion.
The school is also facing a potential suspension from the UAAP.
Despite the challenges ahead, there was no hesitation on Dimaunahan’s part to take his chances.
“No second thoughts because I want to help the university in any way I can, and with regards to them losing the core, for me, we cannot look back and stay in the past. The focus should be to look forward and find a way to help those who remain committed to the university be ready for the next UAAP tournament,” said the longtime PBA deputy, who was drafted by Barangay Ginebra in 2002.
“And for sure those who stayed in the university will have a bigger opportunity to show what they got and be able to contribute significantly for the team. Every player is just waiting for a chance.”
He didn’t have to look far to know.
“I never made it to the [UST] roster in my three years of training. They had a lot of good players that time but more than that, I think my skill set was also not ready yet to play in the UAAP,” he recalled.
“I respect the decision of our late legendary coach Aric del Rosario, somehow I was even thankful for him because I was challenged to be a better player, he taught me to be resilient, more dedicated and more committed to my dream of playing in the PBA. I just took the situation as positive as I could and even though, I didn’t make the lineup for the UAAP, it fueled my desire even more to improve and make myself ready for the PBA.”
But while Dimaunahan didn’t make the cut at UST, he proved his worth as the captain of the Philippine team that won the gold in the 1996 Seaba U-18 Tournament.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.