IF and when University of Santo Tomas looks for a new coach to take the place of the controversial Aldin Ayo, you can count on Edgardo “Ed” Cordero to step up to the plate.
Cordero formally announced his availability to take over the place of Ayo and serve as coach of the Growling Tigers in the coming UAAP season.
Speaking in his first appearance in the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS), Cordero said he is ready to take the challenge of leading the España-based team following the resignation of Ayo due to alleged violations of the health and safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
“I am willing and interested to serve as coach of the UST. It’s a big honor, lalo na dyan ako nagsimula,” Cordero told editors and reporters during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“Kahit hindi kami nag-champion nun, naka back-to-back runner-up finishes kami,” added Cordero, who is best remembered for scoring a single-game high of 54 points in UST’s dramatic 95-89 win over Adamson on July 29, 1979.
(Cordero’s 54-point explosion still stands as the highest individual score in the UAAP).
“Sabi nga, nandyan yun roots ko sa UST. Nakatapos ako ng four years sa pag-aaral,”he said.
The 60-year-old Cordero, who also played for the Philippine Youth team that finished second behind China in the ABC Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in 1980, said he has already sent an e-mail to UST officials to express his interest to handle the team.
“Let’s see what will happen.”
But Cordero, who turned pro as a member of the star-studded Toyota team in the PBA in 1982, urged UST to decide on a new coach soon.
“Dapat magkaroon na kaagad ng bagong coach ang UST bago tuluyang mawala yun mga players. We have to stop the bleeding, sabi nga” claimed Cordero.
“Kung hindi man ako, dapat may ma-appoint na ibang coach na ang UST.”
Cordero said he understands the players’ situations, especially after Ayo resigned as coach and the UAAP slapped an indefinite suspension on him.
“It’s a natural instinct for the players to worry kung sino maging bagong coach at kung may talagang lalaruan pa sila na team. Self-preservation yun. It’s normal na mag-panic yung ibang players sa mga nangyari,” added Cordero.
“Yun mga umalis, baka pwede pang kausapin uli ng magiging bagong coach para bumalik. Yun mga naiwan, kailangan mabigyan ng assurance ng bago nilang coach.”
The 6-4 Cordero admitted the team will have to rebuild “kung madami talagang players ang aalis at lilipat ng ibang school.”
“That’s part of the job of the new coach. Yun palakasin uli yung team gaya ng dati.”
He refused to give any names of possible members of his coaching staff if and when he will be appointed as the new UST coach.
“Madaming magagaling na players, na coach na din ngayon, na galing sa UST.”
Actually, Cordero claimed he did not see anything wrong with the said “Sorsogon Bubble” initiated by Ayo.
“I really think it was a good idea na mag-training sila outside Metro Manila, na kung saan may madaming COVID cases The only problem is that hindi yata nakapag-paalam ng maayos sa IATF. That’s when things get murky leading to the sanction,” said Cordero.
But Cordero and Phoenix Petroleum head coach Louie Alas, who was also a special guest in the weekly session shown live on YouTube and Facebook, agreed that everybody deserves to be given a second chance.
“I believe in second chance para maituwid kung anuman ang naging pagkakamali,” explained Cordero, who also served as commissioner of UNTV fund-raising basketball tournament.