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NCAA: New SSC coach Agustin eyes semis stint for Stags

March 6, 2009 5:56pm
MANILA, Philippines – Four months after taking over San Sebastian College’s (SSC) coaching chores from Jorge Gallent, Renato “Ato" Agustin is already aiming a Final Four stint for the Stags in the coming National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

The NCAA’s 85th season opens in July with the defending champion San Beda Red Lions aiming to win its fourth straight title, which was last accomplished by the Stags from 1993 to 1996.

“Wala akong maipapangako, pero target namin na pumasok sa Final Four kasi four years nang hindi umaabot ng Final Four ang Baste (I can not promise anything but we are targeting the Final Four since it has already been four years since San Sebastian entered the semifinals)," said Agustin, who is currently one of the city councilors in San Fernando City in Pampanga.

“Isa pa, ayaw ko namang ma-pressure agad ang mga bata kaya unti-unti lang muna. Pag nandun na kami saka na kami maghahangad ng mas mataas (I also don’t want to pressure the players. We are going to aim higher once we made it to the semis)," added the former PBA MVP.

Agustin was introduced as the Stags’ new coach last November after Gallent resigned due to his commitment with Harbour Centre in the Philippine Basketball League.

Agustin, after assuming the coaching post, readily coordinated with Stags new team manager Lubao town Mayor Dennis Pineda for their planned team build-up. “Mayroon kasing basketball camp si Mayor Pineda at nagpapasalamat naman ako dahil binigyan n’ya kami ng players na puwedeng ma-line-up this year at makatulong sa team (Mayor Pineda has a basketball camp. We are also thankful for him since he game us players that could play and help the team this year)."

Agustin said four or five players from Pampanga may be lined-up for San Sebastian this year where he expects those chosen to add more height to the Stags.

“Hindi na lang kasi talent at skills ang laban kundi talagang palakihan kaya baka magdagdag kami ng height pero hindi import, imported lang galing Pampanga (Talent and skills alone does not make a team, you also need height. We are going to add tall players but not import, imported from Pampanga)," joked Agustin.

Agustin together with assistant coach Allan Trinidad, are planning to make the first cut for Stags in April. “By April, pipili kami ng 20 na ila-line-up namin para sa tournament ng Fil-Oil tapos dun na kami kukuha ng magiging team namin sa NCAA (We are going to pick 20 players that we will use for the Fil-Oil tournament in April and from there we will choose the NCAA team)."

But even without a final line-up, the Stags team that is competing in the ongoing Fr. Martin Cup is performing above expectations. Proof that Agustin is doing well as the Stags’ new mentor.

San Sebastian together with De La Salle University swept their elimination round games to enter as the top seeds in the semis. – GMANews.TV