Coach Haydee Ong and Tantoy Ferrer: A Fairytale Ending to a Special Bond
After their championship win over National University in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball finals, coach Haydee Ong and Tantoy Ferrer expressed their gratitude to one another. In the post-game media scrum, Ferrer, who had both the Season 86 trophy and the Finals MVP hardware, sat beside Ong who had finished crying for joy. When Ferrer was asked about her relationship with her head tactician, she couldn’t help but be sentimental. “Coach, all of our efforts are because of you because you work on us every day. We know that it’s all because of you. We’re here because of you. I know you’ve been waiting for this Coach Haydee Ong, Tantoy Ferrer relish fairytale ending to their special bond for a long time… I told myself I won’t leave UST without a championship that I can give you.” Ong quickly looked for her handkerchief from her picket and cried again, like she did inside the court as soon as the buzzer sounded. With a chance to end the Lady Bulldogs’ dominant seven-peat title run, Ferrer showed why she’s the cream of UST’s crop with a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds. Words were simply not enough for the head mentor to show her gratitude to the graduating forward but she sure did try, powering on over her tears to say how much she appreciates her Growling Tigress. “Me and Tantoy’s relationship is very special. Super special, even. I know when to put her in the game and when not to. As a veteran playing her last year, I told her to give her best. At the end of the day, win or lose, the important thing is that she did her best so she won’t have regrets,” said Ong. Just how much does the shot caller trust the eventual Finals MVP? In Game 2 in the best-of-three series, Ferrer caught the flu but still played through it only to falter to the Lady Bulldogs. Both Ong and Ferrer could have decided to rest the latter but with the most important game of the season, the former’s most important player can’t be absent. “I told her, ‘Toy, I need you on Wednesday. You have to suit up. We can’t win without you.” And after 40 minutes of hell, the tandem of Ong and Ferrer with the whole camp of the Black and Gold celebrated the University’s first women’s basketball since 2007. There will be a tough crucible ahead for the mentor as Ferrer will officially move on away from UST after exhausting all her collegiate years. But that’s for another day. For now, at least, Ong and Ferrer will celebrate and cherish their sweet, sweet win with the Growling Tigresses.