San Francisco head coach Christian Liaz did not harbor any dreams of becoming a head coach.
Like any budding basketball player from the Municipality of San Francisco, located east of the mainland of Cebu, he wanted to showcase his skills on the biggest of basketball stages – the professional ranks.
And he was on his way too, as he followed up a juniors stint with the University of the Visayas with a collegiate ride with the Perpetual Help Altas. But like many that came before him, Liaz fell through the cracks and played in minor leagues here and there, before eventually going back home to the island.
It was there though, that he got his second chance at basketball, this time tasked with molding the youth of Camotes into a formidable basketball crew. He got his first shot during the Red Durano Cup last year where they eventually emerged as champions.
“I had the same group. I already had Kenny Rogers then (Rocacurva). He was the MVP of that tournament,” shared Liaz.
But even with a title tucked under his belt, Liaz kept his wits about vying for the championship in the Governor’s Cup, especially with the talent and skill level that each competing team boasted of.
“I didn’t think about the championship especially since we are going up against teams from the entire Cebu. But I did see their potential since they are all coachable and very fast learners. That’s why we were able to get to where we are right now,” Liaz explained.
Truth be told, not many pundits pegged San Francisco to make it all the way to the finals, especially in a Northern Division that boasted of traditional powerhouse squads, Mandaue City and Consolacion, which is coached by his former high school mentor, Jun Pepito.
Liaz shared that it was tough to be on the opposing side from Pepito during the Northern finals especially with how much he looks up to the veteran mentor.
“It was a tough challenge for me to be up against him since he was the one who really gave me my break back in high school. It was exciting and pressure-packed to say the least,” he added.
With the success that he has had in the Guv Cup, it might not be long before Liaz makes his way to the benches of the Cesafi. But Liaz explained that even if the opportunity came, he would still have to think about it as he has grown fond of the responsibility handed to him by the municipal mayor to help the kids learn and develop their basketball skills.
“I really would have to ask permission about that since a lot of kids depend on me back home.”