SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGE RECOLETOS GOLDEN STAGS
ON NOVEMBER 3, 2008, THE SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGERECOLETOS MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM OFFICIALLY HIRED ONE OF THE GREATEST PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS OUR COUNTRY HAS EVER SEEN TO BECOME THEIR HEAD COACH. THAT MAN WAS NONE OTHER THAN ATO AGUSTIN. THROUGH HIS LEADERSHI
“ Sobrang bigat ng nawala sa amin,” said Anthony del Rio, when asked to describe the state of the team going into the NCAA’s 87th Season. With the departure of veteran point guard Pamboy Raymundo, del Rio now assumes the role of team captain.
“ Siya (Raymundo)‘yung heart and soul before. Nawala‘yung leader naminpero hindi lang naman siya. Si (Gilbert) Bulawan din, malaking bagay‘yun,” added the former San Sebastian Staglet, who has also been converted into a point guard.
With Bulawan gone, Calvin Abueva (12.6 RPG, #1 last season) has to play more minutes at the power forward spot where he is undersized at 6’3”. Abueva will need a huge lift from the 6’6” Ian Sangalang who should average more rebounds than the 6.8 per game he hauled in last season.
And in order to generate more offense as a team (72.6 PPG, 2nd last season behind San Beda’s 84.5 PPG), wingmen Ronald Pascual (11.8 PPG) and Jonathan Semira (8.4 PPG) must up their scoring averages from last season.
This year’s second unit will be a very important factor for the Golden Stags. In order for the team to be successful this season, the players coming off the bench must be able to provide some back-up. Dave Najorda and Rey Gorospe are gone, so they badly need people to be brave and step up.
One-time Jose Rizal University Team B player Michael Miranda is 6’5” and the tallest player on the bench. He will be Sangalang’s reliever. Dexter Maiquez, the unheralded
Pampangueño on the team, will now have the opportunity to make some noise after a quiet first two years in the league. Athletic second year guard Jovit de la Cruz is also back.
Among their rookies, only Juniors star forward Mark Magno’s name rings a bell. The veterans hope that the other newbies strive to make a name for themselves.
Since Agustin’s departure, a lot of uncertainty surrounded the team. There were even rumors of some of their veterans deciding to transfer to other schools. San Sebastian seemed like it was on the verge of self-destructing.
In March, the team brought back multi-titled Arturo “Turo” Valenzona to once again become the team’s head coach. Valenzona was the architect of the first and only San Sebastian basketball team to have won 4 straight NCAA Championships (1993-1996).
But, under his guidance, the Golden Stags failed to defend their championship in the 2011 Fil-Oil Flying V Hanes Pre-season Premier Cup. They fell in the quarterfinal round of the tournament to the Adamson University Falcons.
San Sebastian ended what was a whirlwind offseason, by quietly announcing just 5 days before the start of the NCAA 87th season, that they were replacing Valenzona with Topex Robinson.
Ironically, Robinson played under Valenzona in San Sebastian. At only 5’7”, Robinson was a speed demon from Zambales who successfully made it to the PBA. Recently, he had his coaching debut in the PBA D-League as the head coach of the RnW Pacific Pipes.
Aside from Valenzona, Robinson has played under other experienced coaches like Bai Cristobal, Yeng Guiao and Tim Cone.
Ato Agustin had at least 7 months to prepare his team for NCAA Season 85. And in his first ever coaching experience, he was able to win the title.
Topex Robinson, had only 5 days to prepare his team for Season 87.
There is no player in the league like Calvin Abueva. There is no one as aggressive, as hungry and as ferocious as the man known as “The Beast”. Nobody. A lot of people may not like him for being overly physical on the court, but Abueva says it’s really nothing personal. “Ginagawa ko lang ‘yung best ko. Ganun lang lagi.” Abueva’s best has earned him two Mythical Five selections but it’s the contagious energy he supplies his team that makes them so tough to stop.
Abueva has stated that he might consider going pro. Therefore, this could be his final season in the NCAA. It is now up to Coach Robinson to make the most out of it before they really start rebuilding from scratch.
C PF SF SG
PG Ian Sangalang Calvin Abueva Ronald Pascual Jonathan Semira
Anthony Del Rio