Cellar-dweller for the past two years, Emilio Aguinaldo College’s new coach Ariel Sison intends to prove that the Generals clearly belong in the NCAA starting in the 92nd seniors basketball tournament that unfolds this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tapped to take over the reins from Andy De Guzman who amassed a lowly 6-30 record in the last two years, Sison will have a tough job cut out for him for the Generals, who are aiming to make a breakthrough stint in the Final Four round behind an intact crew built around African import Hamadou Laminou and comebacking Igee King.
The likes of Sydney Onwubere, Francis Munsayac, Enjerico Diego, Remy Morada and Raymund Pascua are also back for another tour of duty, making EAC one of the most intriguing teams this year.
While he appears to have enough tools to contend against the familiar top guns, Sison said the Generals still have to improve their chemistry—on and off the court.
“What’s missing in the team is the trust from the players and the coaches. We have an open communication and we meet at certain points. That’s what we worked on and something that is missing last year,” said Sison, who previously called the shots for EAC’s juniors cage team known as the Brigadiers.
Improving the team’s defense is the top priority for Sison.
“Ang concentration namin ngayon is on our defense. Everyday, we work hard to adjust our defense, so hopefully, we’ll be able to step up on our standings. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move up this time,” he said.
With plenty of veterans in the fold, the Generals should have an easier time sorting out team issues.
“It’s a shared responsibility. We have so many leaders, and what we have to do is to lead and follow simultaneously. We want to enjoy the practice so that we’ll be able to bring it to the games,” added Sison.
With nowhere to go but up, Sison is also expecting an improved showing from EAC, starting on its June 26 match against Lyceum at The Arena in San Juan.
“My modest goal is to move up at least fifth to sixth place. It’s more than enough for me, but if we make it to the Final Four, it’s a compliment to our hardwork,” he noted. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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