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Mourning EAC’s lost Cinderella run, Cabiltes eyes redemption with souped-up Generals for NCAA 100


In just his first year as the head coach of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jerson Cabiltes brought the Generals as close as they could to their first appearance in the final four of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament.

Under Cabiltes’ leadership, the Generals shocked the NCAA landscape, appearing as a complete contender in the first round of the season. This was a significant improvement from the previous season, where the team finished at the bottom of the standings with a 3-15 record.

With players like King Gurtiza and Ralph Robin returning from suspension to join veterans JP Maguliano and Nat Cosejo, along with Mavs Phenomenal Basketball product Kyle Ochavo leading at the point guard position, the Generals made every game tough for their opponents and stayed in the final four race until nearly the very end.

The Generals concluded their remarkable Season 99 run with a 77-69 victory over Season 98 finalists College of Saint Benilde. However, despite their impressive season, EAC’s resurgence fell short of accomplishing their goal of securing a Final Four berth, dampening the overall positive mood.

EAC’s shortcomings affected the mood despite the positive season. Cabiltes acknowledged that their Cinderella run meant nothing if they didn’t achieve their goals.NCAA-99-EAC-vs.-CSB-EAC Mourning EAC's lost Cinderella run, Cabiltes eyes redemption with souped-up Generals for NCAA 100 Basketball EAC NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“Actually kasi any season before you start you think of a goal. After that, our goal was to make it to the final four, and for me, I still failed to lead the team to the final four. I don’t think nine wins is an overachievement for us, considering the boys, I know that they can play. You think either you underachieve or overachieve, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if you make it to the next round,” shared Cabiltes.

“Right now we’ve failed, and definitely we’re gonna work hard going into next season and hopefully we turn things around, make it to Season 100.”

Although EAC’s focus is on the future, Cabiltes struggled to resist looking back at the missed opportunities of the season and contemplating ‘what if.’

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“I’m still looking at this season kasi nanghihinayang pa ako. We were just two to three wins away and there were games that we could’ve won. Siguro, I’m just gonna think and assess what’s needed to be done,” he explained.

Nevertheless, one goal Cabiltes did achieve was establishing a winning culture for EAC, and the future of his squad looks brighter than ever.

“We have some recruits coming over so it’s a battle of healthy competition, who’s gonna be in the final lineup going for next season. Definitely paghahandaan namin iyan,” he added.FOEO-MBB-Harvey-Pagsanjan-1-scaled Mourning EAC's lost Cinderella run, Cabiltes eyes redemption with souped-up Generals for NCAA 100 Basketball EAC NCAA News  - philippine sports news

Although longtime veterans like JP Maguliano are set to depart, Cabiltes looks forward to his prized recruits for the next season, headlined former University of the East guard Harvey Pagsanjan and Adamson big man AP Manlapaz.

Also on deck are the likes of Axel Doromal, Deo Lucero, Wilmar Oftana, and Jude Bagay.

After a surprising campaign in Season 99, Cabiltes and the rest of the EAC Generals sent a warning to the league that they are a group that needs to be taken seriously as they enter the offseason looking to retool for the NCAA’s 100th year.

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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