New Emilio Aguinaldo College coach Ariel Sison has opened his line of communication with the Generals and he has immediately earned an immediate reward.
Tapped to take over the reins from Andy De Guzman last year following a pair of disappointing campaigns, Sison, 42, appears to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Generals underscored by their 64-57 victory against the Lyceum Pirates over the weekend, enabling them to gain a share of the early lead.
But EAC’s true mettle will be further known on Tuesday when it takes on defending champion Letran, which is smarting from an 85-89 setback dealt by archival and season’s host San Beda in the opener last Saturday.
While they have the chance to momentarily gain a share of the lead and add to early woes of the Knights, Sison is urging the Generals to play loose, knowing they have no reason to feel the pressure this early.
“(We’re coming) from the bottom so wala kaming pressure,” he said. “Lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila na every game we just have to enjoy at go hard lang lagi sa practice. Mag-e-enjoy kami sa practice, mag-e-execute kami sa practice para madali sa actual game.”
The trust and confidence that Sison have given to the Generals, notably on comebacking standouts Igee King and Remy Morada, have inspired them to dish out their fine forms, with the veteran pair combining for 29 points, five rebounds and as many assists in their initial win.
“Palagi kong sinasabi na ‘yung trust ko kasi sa kanila, binigay ko. ‘Yung trust nila sa akin binigay nila. And that’s the most important thing right now—‘yung trust namin mutual,” he said.
“Yung communication namin open. I always consult my players. This is what I’m going to do and let’s see what will be your reactions. Then let’s talk.”
The Generals won just a pair of matches in 18 tries last year and one of them came at the expense of the Knights who won their first seven games under former coach Aldin Ayo.
Sison is hoping the Generals could sustain that kind of form while playing without any kind of pressure.
“I keep on telling them ‘Let’s enjoy the game. The most important thing is we get back on defense,” he said.
Also gunning for a second straight win are San Beda and Mapua. The Red Lions take on the Piartes at 2 p.m. while the Cardinals collide with the St. Benilde Blazers at 4 o’clock. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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