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Jerson Cabiltes says Cuevas family played huge part in EAC turnaround


In its brief history in the NCAA Seniors Basketball Tournament, Emilio Aguinaldo College has never succeeded in reaching the Final Four. With the first round of Season 99 nearing its end, the Generals are now closer than ever to making history for their school.

After a tight 78-76 matchup against last season’s runner-up, the College of Saint Benilde, the Generals emerged with a 5-3 record, tying Jose Rizal University for fourth place in the standings.

The Generals find themselves in unfamiliar territory among other NCAA contenders at the top of the standings. This is a stark contrast to their performance in Season 98 when they ended as the league’s worst team. Much of the credit for this turnaround goes to their new head coach, Jerson Cabiltes, whose fresh system has revitalized the Generals.

Cabiltes and his staff have established a winning culture at EAC, and he shares that the culture shift is evident the moment they step onto the training court.NCAA-99-CSB-vs.-EAC- Jerson Cabiltes says Cuevas family played huge part in EAC turnaround Basketball EAC NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“We’re not here just to play basketball; we’re here to compete.

“That’s why in every practice ineestablish namin yung healthy competition among each among us sa mga players. So talaga sa practice I see to it na talaga they’re going hard. Kasi once yung tendency na magrelax ka, yung tendency madadala mo sa game eh,” said Cabiltes.

Given the tightly contested standings in the NCAA, Cabiltes emphasizes to his players that he expects them to treat every game as if it were their last.

“Inemphasize ko sa kanila going into this game moving forward, treat each game as a knock out kasi lahat ng standings ngayon dikit-dikit,” he continued.

“Pinakita ko sa kanila yung standings, we showed them our position, what could have been if we won our last game, yung talo kami saan kami dinala. Every win is critical so every game is a knockout game for us.”

Cabiltes believes that the credit for their early success does not belong to him alone but rather to the support of program boosters Bong and Rianne Cuevas.NCAA-99-EAC-Cabiltes-x-Cuevas Jerson Cabiltes says Cuevas family played huge part in EAC turnaround Basketball EAC NCAA News  - philippine sports news

#ReadMore  June Mar Fajardo remains positive despite turbulent times in San Miguel

Cabiltes and the Cuevas family only met two years ago during the 2021 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational Tournament. In the finale, Cabiltes’ Basilan-Jumbo Plastic defeated the Cuevas-owned Nueva Ecija in an epic final. Subsequently, the Cuevas family approached Cabiltes to replace Charles Tiu as the Rice Vanguards head coach.

And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

“Our program at EAC wouldn’t be the same without Boss Bong’s support. He’s our main backer, and we rely on him. All that’s happening, the five wins, the players’ eagerness, wouldn’t be possible without Boss Bong and Mayor Rianne’s support,” explained Cabiltes, a two-time MPBL champion coach.

The Generals still have a long way to go before they can achieve their goal, and they know they have to take it one step at a time. Their next challenge is another contender, San Beda University, on Sunday at 12:20 p.m. at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA


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