[Editor's note: Here is the second part of our 10-part preview of the coming NCAA season]
Last Season: 9th Place (4-14)
Key Holdovers: Prince Eze, Keith Pido, AJ Coronel
Injury List: Keith Pido (ankle)
Departures: Gab Dagangon, GJ Ylagan, Nosa Omorogbe (coach)
Newcomers: Edgar Charcos, Tonton Peralta, Kim Aurin, Jielo Razon
Head Coach: Frankie Lim (1st season)
PERPETUAL Help knows very well what it got when it installed Frankie Lim as the Altas’ new head coach.
A four-time NCAA champion, the 58-year-old mentor was the architect of San Beda’s return to prominence in the past decade which kickstarted a run of 10 NCAA championships in a span of 12 years.
Needless to say, the resume speaks for itself.
But Lim was frank - no pun intended - to school officials led by team owner Antonio Tamayo when asked what the school can expect this coming year, especially with Perpetual serving as this season’s hosts.
“I spoke to the chairman and sinabi ko sa kanya na there’s nothing much you can do right now. Pasensya ka muna. Maybe 2019 or 2020, we can build up and we can present to you a better team. But for now, the first order of business is to instill discipline in the players,” he said.
As his custom, Lim buckled down to work with the Altas like a drill sergeant.
Since taking the job back in January, he has tried to make the most of his holdovers like Nigerian big man Prince Eze, and guards Keith Pido and AJ Coronel. Installing a few key pieces in Edgar Charcos, Tonton Peralta, and Kim Aurin and a little more seasoning in the preseason tourneys, and the stern bench tactician believes that he has built a team that is ready to compete.
“Namumuhunan kami sa skills training. And then, nagre-respond naman sila ng maayos,” he said.
Though Lim told the school officials not to expect much, it was the other way around with the team, telling his players that he won't settle for a mediocre performance.
“I didn’t come here to lose. I want to win. That’s why we’re doing everything possible to make good things happen here,” he said as he has his eyes dead set on erasing last year’s ninth place finish.
“Hindi ko masabi exactly kung hanggang saan kami aabot pero for sure, we will compete and we will try to compete for the Final Four. I think may tsansa naman kami. Malaki ang chance namin to end up in the Final Four. Not to pressure the players, but I think it’s possible.“
Regardless of what this season brings, Lim isn’t losing sight of the big picture for the Altas.
“Ang masasabi ko lang sa kanila is to be patient with us. We’re building a stronger team and looking forward to 2019, 2020. Whatever happens this year, we’ll try to put a mark. Di man kami mag-champion, we will compete. Makikita mo na it’s fun to watch the Perpetual team and it’s fun to watch our basketball game. Siguro hopefully, we can pull one or two upsets.”