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One win away from Finals, San Sebastian leaves issue with San Beda behind

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times One win away from Finals, San Sebastian leaves issue with San Beda behind Basketball NCAA News SSC-R  San Sebastian Seniors Basketball NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball NCAA Season 93 Michael Calisaan Egay Macaraya

In just his second year since assuming the position of head coach, Egay Macaraya has steered the San Sebastian Golden Stags to a place where the team has not been in four years: the semifinals of the NCAA Seniors Basketball tournament. Standing in their way are their arch-rivals from Mediola, the San Beda Red Lions.

It’s only fitting that the two squads face off in a sudden death encounter, as both Macaraya and San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez had figured in an off-court, verbal stand-off last September 16.

During that game, San Beda were able to breakaway from San Sebastian late, taking a 76-65 victory. However, during the post-game, Fernandez alleged that San Sebastian skipper Michael Calisaan has great potential, but he is hindered by his being a “dirty player”.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times One win away from Finals, San Sebastian leaves issue with San Beda behind Basketball NCAA News SSC-R  San Sebastian Seniors Basketball NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball NCAA Season 93 Michael Calisaan Egay Macaraya

Hearing this, Macaraya responded the next day, saying that his San Beda counterpart is tarnishing the reputation of his player.

Almost two months after the back-and-forth squabble, Macaraya has moved on. With just one game separating them from the Finals, he and the Golden Stags are laser-focused on the task at hand.

“Well, para sa akin, that issue is closed already. Di na rin naman nag-respond si Boyet. He should also understand kasi player siya e. He should know about hard work, (being a) fighter,” the multi-time NAACU champion coach said.

“‘Pag fighter ka, a lot of people will like you, lalo na sa game of basketball.”

Calisaan, who was at the center of it all, shared that he does not harbor any resentment against the Red Lions. For him, he is just glad to be in the semifinals for the first time in his four-year stay in San Sebastian.

“Para sa akin, wala naman. Maglalaro lang po ako. Kung ano po yung masasabi nila sa akin, tatanggapin ko naman. Kung mali po sa kanila, wala akong magagawa,” the 22-year-old stretch forward shared.

“Ginagawa ko lang yung trabaho ko.”

After surviving two knockout matches, Macaraya would have preferred not to have a 10-day break so as not kill the momentum they had gained. But all the veteran mentor is asking for is for his team to continue staying hungry.

“Pakiusap ko lang sa mga bata, I always ask them if they’re still with me. Because ako kasi, I always have the heart and the desire to win every game. So if they say na, ‘Coach, kasama mo kami!’, then wala akong rason to doubt them,” Macaraya shared. “I need their heart and their desire to win. Pag nandun yun, energy, effort will just come. Hopefully, di sila magsawa, di sila makuntento dito sa ginagawa naming pagpapanalo. It’s still a long way to go.

“One more game then who knows, it will be Lyceum-San Sebastian.”

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