Multi-titled head coach Edgar Macaraya is set to embark on a new but familiar place in the 92nd season of the NCAA.
The San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags were the giant-killers during the 90th season of the NCAA. Led by workhorse Bradwyn Guinto and mentored by former Stag Rodney Santos, the Golden Stags were able to best the league’s top-tier teams in the second round of competition. However, a slow start during the tournament led to their downfall as they finished in 7th place in the tournament with a 6-12 slate.
After all the contracts of their coaching staff expired last December, San Sebastian officials immediately called up one coach who they think can help revive the proud San Sebastian basketball program, one-time NCAA champion and former Stag Edgar Macaraya.
Last Monday, during a press conference that sealed the partnership between PBA D-League team Cafe France and Freego, it was announced that the five-time NAASCU champion coach will still be a consultant for both the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Champions Cafe France-CEU Bakers and the five-time NAASCU champions Centro Escolar University Scorpions.
Macaraya knows that with the partnership with Freego, he is leaving both squads in good hands. “Umaangat na talaga standards ng Cafe France. Starting from scratch, alam naman natin na nasa bottom kami dati. Now, we’re having Freego na sponsor na sa lahat ng spinosponsoran nila winning team,” he said about the partnership. “So I guess, we are on the right track. Nandiyan na kami sa taas so hopefully we could maintain the standard and do better.”
Moreover, he added that the deal between the two parties have raised the morale of the team in saying, “Naaangat yung motivation ng mga bata at tumataas din yung morale. Sana madala din namin ng maganda so the partnership will go on.”
Looking forward to the tough challenges ahead in coaching the Golden Stags, Macaraya was immediately faced with a problem, a good problem at that. “We have 35 players right now. Hindi ko alam paano ko ma-cut yun kasi madaming talent talaga,” he said.
Part of the team’s roster right now are returning players Michael Calisaan, Ryan Costelo, and Jeick Fabian. In addition, rookies Sherwyn Guinto, Rhanzelle Yong, and Alfren Gayosa will bolster the team as well. “By Ferbruary 4, 20 man line-up na lang yun. The rest will go to Team B. Hopefully, walang problema dun,” Macaraya said about the “good problem” the team has.
“Right now, we don’t have the height but we have the speed,” he shared about the team’s current composition. “We will focus on our running game but the main factor is everybody should play defense.”
With a new coaching staff that includes returning scouting coach Franco Atienza (also with the Alaska Aces) and 1991 PBA rookie of the year Eugene Quilban, expectations are high for the team. However, Macaraya said that this will be a long process. “There’s no pressure since it is the transition period of the team but we will try our very best since it’s the 75th year of the school,” he disclosed. “Just coming to the Final Four will make everyone happy. Just having a winning attitude could unite the whole family of San Sebastian.”
“As I’ve said, I’ll face the challenge head-on even if I go out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, I’ll help Baste and rebuild the program because it’s my passion and my alma mater.”