IT’S NOW official, Edgar Macaraya will return to his alma mater San Sebastian College as the new head coach of its Seniors basketball team. The multi-titled tactician has already conducted his first practice sessions and is set on returning the school to the winning track in the coming 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season.
He will be taking over from Rodney Santos, another ex-SSC star who only spent one year at the helm. Under Coach Santos, the Stags tallied a 6-12 win-loss record good for Seventh Place in the 10-school field.
“I was surprised to find out that there were 35 members in the training pool,” said Macaraya. “We hope to assemble the best team possible as there are a lot of players in Team B who can contribute immediately.”
The 53-year old Macaraya carries with him a solid collegiate coaching resume highlighted by three straight NAASCU Seniors titles for the Centro Escolar University Scorpions from 2013 to 2015. He also steered the San Sebastian College-Cavite Baycats to back-to-back NAASCU crowns in 2008 and 2009 for a total of five titles and is now tied with the legendary Loreto Tolentino Sr. who also has five NAASCU titles all with the University of Manila from 2001 to 2005.
In commercial ball, Macaraya led the CafeFrance Bakers to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup last June. On the professional level, he was an assistant at the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems in the MBA’s final season in 2002.
For the coming season, the Stags will bank heavily on NCAA Most Improved Player Michael Calisaan, Ryan Costelo, Jerrick Fabian and returnee Rhanzelle Yong. Center Bradwyn Guinto is already in the PBA but a ready replacement looms in his younger brother Sherwin Guinto.
“We are a small team so expect us to run a lot and shoot from the perimeter,” added Macaraya, a deadly shooter from long-distance during his playing days. He helped the Stags capture the 60th NCAA in 1985 thus ending the school’s 12-year drought.
The team is targeting a return to the Final Four. SSC last tasted NCAA gold in 2009 under Coach Renato Agustin and players Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual.
It will be a sort of reunion for Macaraya, who handled both the Senior and Junior SSC teams for a season immediately after his varsity stint ended in 1986. His initial foray into coaching did not last long though as he opted to concentrate on his playing career with Magnolia in the PBL and eventually capped by two PBA seasons with RFM-Swift’s and Santa Lucia Realty in 1991 and 1993.
Eugene Quilban, a two-time NCAA MVP and PBA Rookie of the Year winner, will lead the coaching staff along with former CEU player Carmelito Banua, SSC Juniors coach Franco Atienza and trainers Philip Go and Alex Almonte. “We had a meeting and I told Eugene that it is now time for him to share his knowledge of basketball to the young players of today and he agreed,” said Coach Macaraya of his one-time backcourt partner.
He clarified that he will not be totally leaving CEU as he will remain as a consultant while keeping his head coaching position with CafeFrance. CEU Juniors head coach Efren “Yong” Garcia will assume the reins and is now tasked to lead the Scorpions to a possible fourth straight NAASCU trophy later this year.
San Sebastian is the latest team to join the offseason coaching carousel. Earlier, University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta announced the appointment of school owner Antonio L. Tamayo as the replacement for Aric del Rosario while reigning champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran has yet to name their new coach after Aldin Ayo jumped over to De La Salle University.