It’s been 21 years since the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA have last won the NCAA Seniors General Championship.
After those back-to-back General Championship wins from 1995 to 1997, the Altas have flourished in some sports. But the stars would never align again in Las Piñas.
Wanting to shine again in the Grand Old League, school president Anthony Tamayo did not look any further for who he thinks is suited to make sweeping changes in their program.
Back in 2017, Perpetual Volleyball Team head coach Sammy Acaylar had been asked to take over as the school’s athletics director. Once it was offered, the decorated tactician admitted that he had to think about it long and hard.
“Alam niyo, nung pinagkatiwalaan ako ni sir Tony Tamayo, umaayaw talaga ako since ‘yung heart ko is in volleyball.
“Of course, I want to coach the national team pa rin since dito sa atin gagawin yung SEA Games. But inexplain naman niya sa akin na medyo ‘okay ka na diyan sa volleyball. Definitely, hindi naman kita pagbabawalan mag-coach’. This position as sports director, pinromise niya na maraming tutulong sa amin,” recalled Acaylar, who eventually accepted the job later that year.
Of course, Acaylar could not handle every sports program in the school. So he scoured for who he would tap as heads of each program.
For volleyball, he brought back former NCAA champion coach Michael Carino.
“I can’t handle na the two teams ng volleyball so I got Michael Carino since dati naman siyang coach dito sa Perpetual.
“What I did sa kanya eh, pinakawalan ko muna siya to see if kaya na niyang maging head coach sa isang team. Nung okay na, kinuha ko siya at siyempre inofferan ko ng konteng alam niyo na,” quipped Acaylar, as Carino won the NCAA Women’s Volleyball title for CSB back in Season 91.
Of course, Acaylar needed a father figure for the Seniors Basketball Team – the crown jewel of Perpetual. He shot for the moon and entered negotiations with Frankie Lim.
“To tell you frankly, na-challenge ako kay Frankie Lim. Like me as a coach, kapag nawala ka sa coaching, magiging uhaw ka. Na-challenge ako na kunin siya,” recalled Acaylar ,as he was trying to tap a Bedan. He was okay with it.
“He’s like a disciplinarian coach like me and kumbaga, ‘pag binigyan ka niya ng instruction, gusto niya makuha mo kagad. So, definitely nakita ko yung sarili ko sa kanya.”
The Altas’ seniors football team has also experienced a 21-year championship drought. Seeing that the old regime’s style was archaic, Acaylar sought out for fresh blood. And he was able to find Philippine football legend Chieffy Caligdong.
“Of course, binigyan din niya ko ng go-signal to form a good football team. So I got Chieffy Caligdong,” he added.
Acaylar also boosted the school’s swimming team over the summer.
The changes Acaylar has implemented in a span of less than one year have been drastic. But it’s not just because Perpetual is hosting this season. They want a program that will be sustainable in the long run.
“I’d like to thank sir Anton Tamayo. Siya yung nag-utos sa akin na to recruit good players and good coaches in preparation for this upcoming NCAA hosting. Siyempre nasa sports ako, alam ko ‘yung ganitong situwasyon. With the allowances, the dorms, everything, sinuportahan niya ako,” expressed Acaylar.
“The chairman promised to us na this is only the start. Tuloy-tuloy siya hanggang mabuild namin yung sports program sa Perpetual.”