RANDY Alcantara and Yong Garcia are almost inseparable.
From Mapua in the NCAA to San Juan in the MPBL, the bench tacticians have always playfully labelled themselves 'partners in crime.'
On Monday, that partnership had to be broken as Alcantara's ADG Dong-Mapua and Garcia's Marinerong Pilipino faced off in the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
It's an interesting coaching match between the peers as they almost ran the same system and adjusted to each other's nuances, all thanks to years spent together as friends and colleagues.
"Matagal na kaming magkaibigan, siguro mga 1990s pa. Hindi kami teammates sa Mapua, nasa Team B pa siya noon. Pero sa coaching, since 2009, parehas kaming assistant ni coach Chito Victolero sa Cardinals," shared Alcantara.
"Masasabi mong alam na namin kung paano mag-isip ang isa't isa. Kaya nade-delegate ko na sa kanya yung sa depensa, nagsesenyasan kami kahit pati sa offense. Meron lang kaming kanya-kanyang trabaho pero kapag nagtinginan na kami especially doon sa mga adjustments, nagkakaintindihan na kami. Yun ang maganda sa aming dalawa."
In the end, it was the Skippers who got the better of the young Cardinals, 83-69. But Alcantara said there are no losers in the game, citing the benefit to Mapua's offseason preparations.
"Yung D-League naman kasi, preparation namin ng Mapua for the NCAA yun eh. Makakuha lang kami ng experience doon at makapag-compete, masaya na ako," he said.
Just hours after that duel, the two strategists had to join forces anew, this time for the Knights in the MPBL.
Combining once again, the duo steered San Juan past Makati, 76-60, for a 1-0 lead in the North Division Finals, moving one win away from a return trip to the championship series.
It truly was quite a day for Alcantara and Garcia, butting heads in the afternoon before coming together in the evening.
Alcantara, though, hopes that it would be the last time that happens.
"Mahirap pero kailangan naming gawin kasi trabaho yun. Kailangan naming gawin yung trabaho sa D-League tapos after that, focus na dito sa San Juan. Buti naman nagawa namin nang maayos yun," he said. "Sana lang wag na maulit."