SAN Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya is tempering expectations despite the Stags' impressive showing in preseason tournaments heading into NCAA Season 93.
The Stags made it to the quarterfinals of the Filoil preseason tournament, enough for observers to label the team as a potential Final Four contender in the new NCAA season, which starts Saturday.
However, Macaraya said he is not convinced of his team's contender status, until he sees the Stags carry over that preseason form into the battles on the court.
"Overrated," said Macaraya. "Ang nangyayari kasi, masyadong maganda ang mga write-ups, hindi pa natin nakikita."
Macaraya is even worried the label would make the Stags a target for other NCAA teams.
"Wala kaming advantage. Ang kalaban namin sa NCAA, medyo malakas talaga. Lahat nagiistep-up na lalo na tatlo ang pumasok na NCAA teams sa Filoil semifinals," said Macaraya.
The Stags will open Season 93 with a big challenge against defending champion San Beda on Saturday, 2 p.m., at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Ang sa amin naman, nung nanalo kami sa Filoil, it's all about teamwork. Hopefully, madala namin sa NCAA Season 93," said Macaraya.
San Sebastian is expected to be backstopped by Michael Calisaan, one of the holdovers of the squad, but Macaraya has seen the emergence of the entire team during the preseason.
Other holdovers include Ryan Costelo, Jayson David, and RK Ilagan. Rounding up the team are Michael Are, Alvin Baetiong, John Kevin Baytan, Allyn Bulanadi, John Michael Calma, Alvin Capobres, Alfren Gayosa, Justine Mercado, Lorenzo Navarro, and Bryan Quipes.
"Palaging ang nangyayari, iba-iba ang nag-iistep-up. It's all about teamwork kasi naglalaro naman sila ng maayos," said Macaraya.
On the other hand, Macaraya may not be convinced that he already has a title contender in his team but he's satisfied to see progress in his young squad in his second season as head coach of his alma mater.
"Sa tingin ko, na-build ko na 'yung character na gusto kong makita sa kanila. Hopefully, ma-sustain namin 'yung energy at effort dahil pareho kaming maliliit 'yung team ko ngayon. I don't have any imports. Sana mag-tuluy tuloy 'yung energy at effort," said Macaraya.