PLAYERS and even coaches have come and gone in college basketball. But in Ateneo, there has been one constant figure in the Blue Eagles.
His name is Sandy Arespacochaga, a former player of the Blue Eagles in the mid-1990s who has been with the team’s coaching staff since 1998.
Arespacochaga has seen seven different head coaches take charge since his time with the Blue Eagles. He even became one in 2004 for one season before Norman Black took over where he guided Ateneo to five straight UAAP crowns.
In between those coaching changes, though, Arespacochaga’s name has always come up as possible replacements, only for Ateneo to hire a different one. But he insisted that he’s very much satisfied with his role and being a head coach is not in his plans for now.
“My plan is to help the team in any capacity,” said the 42-year-old Arespacochaga in a brief chat with SPIN.ph after Game Two of UAAP Season 80 finals last Wednesday. “That’s not part of my focus right now.”
The longtime Ateneo assistant is just grateful for his stint as it has opened other doors for his career. Currently, he is also with NLEX as an assistant coach to Yeng Guiao, reuniting with his former wards at Ateneo such as Larry Fonacier and Kiefer Ravena.
And in all his years as an assistant coach, Arespacochaga remained in awe with the dedication of the head coaches that handled Ateneo even as most of them are not graduates of the school.
“I can see how dedicated they are to the team and for the school. Right now, it’s still the same with coach Tab. He is dedicated to the team and to the school,” said Arespacochaga.
Having been with different coaches, Arespacochaga said he has definitely learned a lot from them during their stint with Ateneo. Having Baldwin, a former coach of Gilas Pilipinas and a veteran in international competitions, is no different.
“I’ve been privileged to be under different coaches for a long time already. I certainly learned a lot from all of them,” said Arespacochaga.
“What we’ve learned, not just by me but the coaching staff, we’ve been together for a long time. The good thing with coach Tab also is the experiences that we have, we shared it with him,” he added.
As Ateneo looks for its ninth title in the UAAP, Arespacochaga is focused on helping the Blue Eagles attain their goal, happy to be a good soldier to his school for now.
“I don’t know if it can change, but right now, wala,” said Arespacochaga, on dreams of having an Ateneo coach once again. “I’m focused on doing my job to help the team and my job is to be an assistant coach to coach Tab and to the players.”