IT’S not all about coaching, but teaching as well.
Those are two significant factors the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) considered in tapping Sandy Arespacochaga to head the Batang Gilas program.
The SBP officially announced the appointment of Arespacochaga for the job and will be the one to call the shots for two major international junior championships slated this year.
“Sandy’s demeanor is perfect for our young players. He is a natural teacher whose method of teaching is what our young players will embrace and appreciate,” said SBP President Al S. Panlilio.
“He uses his strong communication skills and low key personality to get the best out of his personnel.”
Arespacochaga will immediately be tested as the Batang Gilas will see action in the FIBA World Cup U-19 tournament this June in Heraklion, Greece, before seeing action in the FIBA Asian Championships U-16.
Coaching young players isn’t nothing new to the former Ateneo Blue Eagle.
He steered the Blue Eaglets to back-to-back UAAP junior championships in 1999 and 2000.
Arespacochaga later joined the men’s team as part of the coaching staff under Joel Banal that won the UAAP seniors title in 2002. He has since remained with the team from the time of coach Norman Black which won five straight titles from 2008 to 2012, and later with Tab Baldwin that bagged back-to-back crowns in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
“It is important that we teach our young players not only to play good basketball, but also conduct themselves positively inside and outside of the basketball court. With his focus on a strong and wholistic values enrichment program, we in the SBP are confident that the success of the Batang Gilas program will be sustained and will eventually benefit ever our Gilas men’s program,” added Panlilio.
Arespacochaga has recently worked with coach Yeng Guiao as part of the Team Pilipinas coaching staff. He has also been involved with different PBA teams in the past as part Black’s coaching staff at TnT Katropa, Yeng Guiao at NLEX, and now with Bong Ravena with the Katropa again.
Baldwin has earlier reported to be a strong candidate for the Batang Gilas coach job, but nonetheless will still have a strong influence to the youth program with Arespacochaga around.
“Sandy has proven his worth as a youth basketball coach. He has won championships in the high school level and has been an active member of the highly-successful Ateneo college basketball program,” said Panlilio.
Arespacochaga takes over the place left by Josh Reyes.