SANDY Arespacochaga, a long-time deputy of some of the greatest coaches Philippine basketball has produced, is finally getting his big break as head coach of the Batang Gilas squad seeing action in the FIBA World Cup Under-19 Championship.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio confirmed it in a released statement sent to media Friday.
Handling a youth team isn’t something new for Arespacochaga, who has led the Ateneo High School basketball team to numerous championships in the 1990s, a team which was bannered by soon to be PBA stars Enrico Villanueva, Larry Fonacier, Wesley Gonzales and Ranier Sison among others.
But Arespacochaga has also served in different capacities, the most notable as an assistant coach to champion mentors Joel Banal (2002 Ateneo champion squad) and the five-peat run from 2008 to 2012 under coach Norman Black.
Arespacochaga was the deputy of Tab Baldwin in Ateneo’s back-to-back champion team in 2017 and 2018.
In the PBA, Arespacochaga served as an assistant coach to Yeng Guiao, Black, and Bong Ravena recently at TNT.
“As early as 2009, Sandy became my assistant while we were still with Burger King/Air 21,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines in a telephone interview. “He knows how the game is being played at different levels — from the youth squad, the college basketball and the PBA. It’s high time he’ll be given the opportunity to become head coach and I think he is the logical choice to handle Batang Gilas.”
Guiao had seen some of the good traits of Arespacochaga as far as coaching is concerned.
“In the years that we’ve been together, the last two years with NLEX and as a scout of Gilas Pilipinas, Sandy is really a serious student of the game,” added Guiao. “His approach to the game is methodical. He’s a good teacher as he has a solid fundamental background, something which other coaches didn’t pay much attention at.”
As coach of Batang Gilas, Arespacochaga will handle a team to be led by Kai Sotto competing the World Cup 2019 in Heraklion, Greece.
“Sandy has proven his worth as a youth basketball coach. He has won championships in the high school level and has been an active member of the highly successful Ateneo college basketball program,” said Panlilio. “Batang Gilas U-19 has performed well. It is important that we give them a great fighting chance to win games and get the valuable experience necessary to be competitive in that age group consistently.”
“Sandy’s demeanor is perfect for our young players. He is a natural teacher whose method of teaching is what our young players will embrace and appreciate. He uses his strong communication skills and low key personality to get the best out of his personnel,” he added.