FOR the most part of his basketball career, be it as a player or as a member of the coaching staff, Randy Alcantara’s loyalty to Tanduay is exceptional.
So when the Tanduay-backed Batangas City Athletics captured the title of the inaugural staging of the MPBL-Anta Rajah Cup, Alcantara, an assistant coach, had mixed emotions.
“Una sa lahat, gusto ko ipaalam na Tanduay talaga ang sumalo sa akin, noon pa lang amateur days ko. Nag-struggle ako sa ibang teams, peor Tanduay ang nagbigay ng break sa akin. Nagsimula kami sa Stag, naging Tanduay. Hindi ko makakalimutan kung paano ako tinulungan ng Tanduay. Kaya talagang extra special dahil matagal na rin na hindi nagcha-champion yung Tanduay,” Alcantara told FOXSports.ph.
It was like déjà vu for Alcantara when the Athletics won the championship it brought back memories of their glory days as a part of the team which established a dynasty in the now defunct PBL during the 1990s.
As a player, Alcantara used to come of the bench and watched players like Marlou Aquino, Bal David, Mark Telan, Jason Webb, Jomar Rubi, and later on Eric Menk among others dominated their counterparts and propelled the Bong Tan-owned franchise to numerous championships.
Alcantara hopes he could bring in his winning ways to San Juan where he also became part of the champion squad in Year 2000 in the Metropolitan Basketball Association, the precursor of the MPBL.
“Sa Tanduay, sa pamamagitan ng mga coaches namin dati, sina Coach Al (Alfrancis Chua), sina Coach Itoy (Esguerra), talagang tinuruan nila kami kung paano lumaban sa laro. Yung character na para maging champion ka every game, every practice. Nadala namin doon na kinakailangan every conference, magcha-champion kami. Yung pagiging winner nung nagging coach ako, I shared to my players na hindi ka puwedeng magpapatalo, kahit na sa practice. Doon magsisimula yun,” added Alcantara.
At San Juan, he will also have a homecoming of sorts as well.
“Talagang hinahanda na namin yung team, kung paano namin ibi-build up yung team. Ganun din kami dati sa San Juan. Ito yung big challenge sa akin. Yung dating head coach namin, si Coach Philip Cezar talagang living legend. Ngayon ako papalit sa kanya. Salamat kay Senator JInggoy (Estrada). Gagawin ko lahat para maibalik yung dating character ng team (sa MBA).”