TWO coaches who steered their teams to the championship right in their first year will share top honors when the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and SMART host the 2013 Collegiate Basketball Awards on December 15 at the Saisaki-Kamayan Edsa in Greenhills.
La Salle mentor Juno Sauler and San Beda tactician Boyet Fernandez will receive the Coach of the Year awards after overcoming early challenges to lead their teams to impressive title romps.
Sauler took over less than three weeks before the season, yet amazingly led the Green Archers to a second-round sweep of the eliminations before turning back Far Eastern University in the Final Four of the UAAP men's basketball tournament.
In the title series, Sauler and the Green Archers bucked a sluggish start against the University of Santo Tomas Tigers to capture the crown in a thrilling Game Three finale.
Fernandez, meanwhile, is no stranger to winning on his first attempt.
Before steering the Red Lions to their fourth straight NCAA title, Fernandez won a championship in his first coaching job with Sta. Lucia in the PBA in 2007, then bagged another title four years later with NLEX in the PBA D-League’s inaugural season.
Fernandez's magic continued as he led the Red Lions past rivals Letran Knights in a pulsating winner-take-all Game Three that extended San Beda's dominance in the league.
Scribes from national broadsheets, tabloids and sports websites covering the collegiate basketball beat unanimously picked Sauler and Fernandez for the recognition.
Past winners in this affair supported by Smart Sports, Accel 3XV1, Gatorade, Meralco, Talk and Text, Filoil Flying V, UAAP Season 76 host Adamson, NCAA Season 89 host College of St. Benilde and the Philippine Sportswriters Association included Norman Black of Ateneo, Frankie Lim of San Beda and UST's Pido Jarencio.