MAC Cuan sees Alab Pilipinas’ stint in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) as a wonderful opportunity for him and his players to make a mark in Philippine basketball.
In the squad are several fringe PBA players, and it is Cuan’s first head coaching job, but the 38-year-old tactician is confident they can deliver as Alab Pilipinas looks put the Philippines back on top of Southeast Asia home-and-away pro league.
“This is an opportunity for everybody. If you see the players, most of them came from the PBA but they weren’t given breaks. They were the 10th, 11th, 12th guys. But that doesn’t mean they are not talented. They just didn’t get the breaks and opportunity that they deserve,” said Cuan.
Former PBA players Jeric Fortuna, JR Cawaling, Jens Knuttel, Val Acuna, Paolo Hubalde, and Robby Celiz lead the Alab squad that seeks to bring the ABL crown back to the Philippines. No Philippine-based club has won the ABL in three years.
Alab debuts in the Southeast Asian basketball league on November 27 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.
Cuan sees the coaching job as a big opportunity after starting out as a video coordinator for La Salle’s basketball team, to assistant coach of San Miguel in the ABL and an assistant coach at Globalport in the PBA.
“Same thing with me. I’ve been in coaching for almost four, five years but I’ve been praying [for a head coaching job]. I wasn’t expecting an opportunity this quick.
“Basically, the team is waiting for his opportunity. We are all excited and all ready to prove ourselves,” said Cuan.
The team has been practicing for only a week, and have another week to prepare for their its ABL debut, but Cuan is confident they will be ready. Each teams plays 20 games in the regular season.
“We are behind schedule. We want to put everything until our first game. I’m happy with how the players are responding,” he said.
“Right now, we are starting to get our form. Hopefully, we peak by our ninth or 10th game. Slowly, we are putting in the defensive system, but one thing we will do is run. We are going to be an up-and-down team because we are not big enough,” Cuan added.