The University Perpetual of Help System DALTA Altas’ coaching staff, led by former Nigerian student-athlete Nic Omorogbe, made an impressive debut last Wednesday in a blowout victory over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
Led by Gab Dagangon and foreign student-athletes Prince Eze and Bright Akhuetie, the Altas displayed great ball movement in their first game without former NCAA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson. “Last year, we were relying on Bright (Akhuetie) and Scott (Thompson),” said Perpetual coach Nic Omorogbe after the game. “Watching tape from last year, it just came to my mind that we have a lot of talent.”
At just 26 years old, Omorogbe admitted that he did not see a quick transition to coaching as part of his plans. “I did not see it coming. I thought that they were going to get the former head coach of Letran (Louis Alas) but the agreement did not work,” he said. “That’s when the management called me and said ‘let’s give it a shot.'”
It was his passion for the game of basketball that led him to his new challenge, he added. “Actually, I just love basketball. I believe that I can, with good effort, give it a shot and something good will happen.”
Even former head coach, 76-year-old Aric del Rosario, was caught by surprise with the hiring. “Hindi ko in-expect na siya mag-cocoach,” the veteran mentor shared to Tiebreaker Times. “No one saw it coming. Coach Aric was shocked when he heard about it that I was the coach. But trust me, this is just a continuation of Coach Aric’s work because basically what we do in practice is just his old system,” Omorogbe added.
Seeing his team for the first time after his retirement from coaching, Del Rosario admitted that he is impressed with the team’s system. However, he wants to see the Altas tested against a tougher team in their next outing. “Kaya lang subukan natin kung malakas makalaban nila, dun natin makikita strength nila. Yung team na nakalaban mahina,” Del Rosario added.
Omorogbe shared the system that the team is implementing is highly influenced by Del Rosario’s. Moreover, he added that he owes everything he knows to his former mentor. “Coach Aric was a big help. Most of the system I’m running right now is from what I’ve learned from Coach Aric. He is like a father to me,” the foreign coach said.
“He guided me as a player and now as a coach. That’s not something I’m going to deny.”
The team’s former head coach, though, is hoping that the Altas can accomplish the one thing that has eluded him in his four-year stay with the Las Piñas squad: an NCAA championship. “Pag tuloy tuloy yung sistema niya malamang may chance yan,” he closed. “Sana pagbutihan nila at makalusot sila sa NCAA.”