WINNER for the longest time in the high school circuit, Randy Alcantara gets a chance to test his mettle in the seniors' division as he handles the Mapua Cardinals starting this NCAA Season 95.
And as expected, he's feeling the jitters with this new endeavor.
"Syempre kinakabahan ako, pero excited din. Nakikita kong challenging ito sa coaching career ko," said the two-time NCAA Juniors champion coach, who is also at the helm of the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Alcantara, though, can take solace knowing that he has the advantage of familiarity.
Not only was he an assistant coach in Atoy Co's staff in the past years, much of the players he has at his disposal from the Cardinals have gone through his successful Red Robins program.
"Yung mga players ko noong high school, nandito pa rin sila. Alam ko silang gamitin at alam na rin naman nila yung style ko so siguro mapapadali rin yung trabaho namin dito," said Alcantara.
Warren Bonifacio, Laurenz Victoria, Denniel Aguirre, and Eric Jabel have all made the transition from the juniors to the seniors level, and rookie shooter Paolo Hernandez will be the latest to cross the bridge, giving their old mentor a potent crew to brandish this year.
And Alcantara is more than willing to reciprocate that faith.
"I’m expecting everybody to step up," he said.
"Ang goal namin is every game, maging competitive kami at makita yung pina-practice namin. Ibang-iba yung Cardinals na makikita nila ngayon. Every game, mapahirapan lang namin kalaban namin, malaking achievement na para sa akin yun."