MANILA, Philippines – Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) has failed to break its Final Four drought, but for new head coach Ariel Sison, their campaign in the NCAA Season 92 remains a successful one.
The Generals have not made the postseason since joining the league as a guest team in Season 85, but they showed flashes of promise in Season 92, winning five games against 10 losses with still three games to go in their schedule.
A 72-82 loss to Mapua Institute of Technology on Thursday formally eliminated them from the semifinal race.
“For me, maayos naman ang pinakita namin,” said Sison, who took over the Generals earlier this year from Andy De Guzman. “Natalo kami, pero close games ang karamihan.”
“If you would recall, in the past seasons, laging malaki ang lamang,” he noted. “Ngayon naman, kahit paano, napilit namin idikit at na-surpass namin ‘yung panalo namin last season.”
EAC only had two wins in Season 91, and often went through spells of uninspired play. They lost games by an average margin of 15.7 points last year.
This time around, they have managed to keep in step even against higher-ranked squads, and stunned Final Four contender Jose Rizal University, 63-60, in the second round.
They are still set to play San Sebastian College, De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, and defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran in their final three games of the season, and Sison is hopeful that they can win more games so as to have something to build on for next year’s tournament.
“Ang importante sa amin ngayon, makakuha kami ng mas maraming panalo sa last three games para maayos ang standing namin,” he said.
The Generals will only lose three players – Igee King, Jerald Serrano, and Jorem Morada – from this year’s squad, and will still have the core of Hamadou Laminou, Sydney Onwubere, and Francis Munsayac, as well as a good recruiting class.
“May recruits kami na alam namin na makakatulong sa team,” said Sison. “Doon kami magre-rely ngayon.”
“Hopefully, mas magandang season ang naghihintay sa amin sa Season 93,” he added. “Mas nakikita ko na mas maganda ang mangyayari next season.”
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