Beaujing Acot accepted the coaching challenge, weathered the early storm, and fared better than predicted.
After steering the Makati Super Crunch past the Bulacan Kuyas, 2-0, in the quarterfinals, Acot is optimistic his wards will continue to do well versus the Manila Stars in their North Division semifinal tussle in the Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season starting on Friday (February 28).
“If we are consistent on defense and communicate on offense, we’ll be able to put up a good fight,” said Acot, who boldly decided to handle the reins for the Super Crunch following the sudden departure of longtime coach Cholo Villanueva.
The Super Crunch were carrying a 20-6 win-loss record and were playoff-bound when Villanueva left, so there was pressure for Acot to deliver with players alien to his coaching style and system.
True enough, the Super Crunch got crushed by the Davao Occidental Tigers, 101-79, in Acot’s inauspicious debut, sparking a torrent of insults from bashers.
The Super Crunch management, led by team owner Paolo Orbeta, stood by Acot. He then restored some semblance of order in Makati’s 119-107 dumping of Caloocan.
Back-to-back losses to Pasay and Nueva Ecija, then an elimination round-closing, 91-90 squeaker over General Santos put doubts on Makati’s capability to hurdle Bulacan in the quarterfinals.
The Super Crunch surpassed their performance in the MPBL Datu Cup, where they got waylaid by the Quezon City Capitals in the quarterfinals, even with Villanueva at the helm.
The former mentor of Cebuana Lhuiller in the PBA D-League and founder/director of Pinoy Youth Dreamers, Acot attributed the Super Crunch’s resurgence to the players and the all-out support of management.
“What’s good with the team now is management and coaches and players are working together. We are always talking and adjusting to being on one page for one goal,” said Acot. “I trust my players. Now, if we lose it simply means we lost to a better team.
“When I accepted the challenge asked by boss Vince Garcia, he assured me that he will be with me and management all the way. And we will rise above the challenges, most especially crunch time for we are stronger together.”
While crediting to all his players for their efforts, Acot reserved praises for Joseph Sedurifa, who, according to him, “sees the floor as wide as the coaches” and can turn things around in a snap.
Acot also cited Simon Atkins for leading and guiding the other players.
Of course, Acot believes he would not be able to get the job done without the help of his coaching staff — Henry Subido, Jun-Jun Alas, Manny Mendoza, Vengie Gabales, and Melki Villanueva.
No matter what happens in the semifinals, Acot feels the Super Crunch, the team management, and himself have been vindicated.
“Coaching the Super Crunch is a challenge and God’s blessing. It helped me become more mature as a coach.”
And a gentle soul, too.
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