SAN Sebastian might have lost two of its three games in the NCAA Season 93 so far, but its head coach in Egay Macaraya is beaming with pride with how his young squad has performed against some of the best teams in the league.
After all, both of those losses came from San Beda and Lyceum, two teams who are heavily favored to make it to the Finals this season.
And in both games, they made both squads sweat.
“Tuwang tuwa ako sa mga bata. Hindi talaga nagigive-up, fight lang talaga ng fight kahit anong mangyayari,” said Macaraya after their 73-78 loss over the Pirates on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center.
Just like against the Red Lions, the Stags were right in the thick of things in the fourth quarter, only to lose out in the end game.
The soft-spoken mentor rued some unnecessary things that they have done, particularly giving out a total of four technical fouls in the game which led to freebies for the Pirates.
“Ang problema lang talaga is medyo maraming mga unnecessary fouls that cost us the game. Yung apat na technical na yun, that’s five or eight points yun ang nagpapatalo sa amin. It’s a good lesson for us. Hopefully in the next few games hindi na mangyayari yun,” Macaraya continued.
“Kulang talaga. In the last seconds, medyo maganda, pero pumasok yung tira nila (Lyceum). Yun lang talaga yung mabibigay namin, that was the gameplan na patirahin namin sila labas and they made those shots. Wala naman akong masasabi sa mga bata because they were playing good defense,” he added.
But what keeps Macaraya smiling is how they constantly improve each and every game.
While rebounding was an issue for them against the Red Lions, they were able to turn things around in their next two games including this game where they ruled over the offensive boards 26-13.
“Nung first game namin sa San Beda,natalo kami sa rebounds, 52-36. Yun ang naging focus namin, malaking disadvantage sa amin yung rebounding kasi maliliit. Against Arellano and now, panalo kami sa rebounds. The problem was addressed, but still kulang pa rin. I hope the other things maayos namin.”
This is quite impressive, considering that they have been sticking with the small-ball system, opting to use forwards Michael Calisaan, Jayson David and Allyn Bulanadi as his primary rotation inside the paint.
If things continue to swing their way, Macaraya doesn’t see a reason to change his gameplan anytime soon.
“Until wala kaming nakikitang problema sa ilalim namin, we could do that all the time. Yun naman ang advantage namin sa offense. Dahil maliliit kami, we don’t focus on playing bigs, we just focus on our quickness.”