In spite of the pressures brought by coaching his first game of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament, Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Jerson Cabiltes was ready to face the limelight.
“Actually lagi naming may pressure kahit saan ka mapunta, its always being ready for the moment. We prepared hard for this moment at pinaghintay namin as each day comes,” said the first-year head coach.
It’s been a long time coming for Cabiltes to coach in the collegiate ranks.
For years, the youthful Filipino-Chinese head coach had been dominating regional leagues like the MPBL, the VisMin Super Cup, and Filbasket.
And early this year, he got his shot, signing on as the Generals’ head coach.
Yes, he is tasked to end EAC’s non-appearance in the Final Four since joining the Grand Old League in 2009.
Cabiltes’ heavy preparation for the NCAA season showed immediately from the tip-off of his squad’s battle against University of Perpetual Heart System DALTA. The Generals came away with the 75-67 victory after a stifling defensive performance.
The Generals held the Altas to a measly 29-pecent shooting clip, including a 0-of-28 showing from three-point land as EAC’s aggressive close-outs hounded the Perpetual shooters.
Despite the impressive showing from the Generals though, Cabiltes knows that the job is far from done.
“As I said we cannot be contented with this. Mahaba pa, work double effort in our succeeding games. Just be ready,” said Cabiltes.
The rookie coach was even quick to identify points for improvement for his squad even with their big win, emphasizing the need to battle on the boards and limit turnovers in the midst of their quick pace.
“Sinabi ko as kanila, we’re not the strongest we’re not the tallest so kayang kaya kami habulin. But we need to stay composed, we need to stay together,” Cabiltes explained.
The composure from the EAC squad showed at the dying moments of the match as they answered a comeback attempt from Perpetual with a 15-2 run to close the game.
Cabiltes and the rest of the Generals’ composure will be tested even more in their next game against defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Sunday, 10:00 AM at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
There, Cabiltes can show the rest of the NCAA that he and his squad are ready to make some noise in season 99.