MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant – Jack Santiago will be more than happy to return home.
The longtime assistant of coach Franz Pumaren said he’s very much willing to accept the coaching job at Mapua University and complete the cycle of being a Cardinal.
“Oo naman, bakit hindi. Kung sa ibang school, nagse-serve ako, sa alma mater ko pa. If the school gives me the position, I’ll accept it,” said Santiago, minutes before the Soaring Falcons’ game against UE in the 81st UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
“Actually, last year pa kami pinagpasa ng resume pero hindi lang natuloy this season. Let’s see. Sabi nga ni coach Franz, he’ll be happy for me kung mangyari,” he added.
Santiago is reportedly on the short list of Mapua to replace Atoy Co, who feared that his contract will not be renewed by the Cardinals after a dismal 6-12 win-loss record in NCAA Season 94.
Co’s assistant Randy Alcantara is also a candidate and was actually recommended by the PBA legend to the school.
Alcantara is currently the head coach of the Red Robins, who are currently in the finals of the NCAA juniors division. He also played for the Cardinals during his college days.
Santiago suited up for Mapua's high school and college teams and was a teammate of ex-King Cardinal Alvin Patrimonio.
“We never won a title but Alvin was named back-to-back MVPs during our time,” said Santiago.
“Kahit sino naman makuha sa amin (ni Alcantara), I have no problem with that. Pareho naman kaming Cardinal,” he added.
Co left Mapua with a 40-72 win-loss record as coach, helping the Cardinals reach the Final Four twice in 2015 and 2016 behind back-to-back MVP Allwell Oraeme.