Underdogs no more

How EAC is shaping up to be the NCAA Season 99 dark horse

Gone are the days when Emilio Aguinaldo College was seen only as an underdog.

The Generals are currently flaunting their best start since 2017, bagging five wins in eight games to sit in the upper half of the NCAA Season 99 team standings with veterans JP Maguliano, King Gurtiza, and Nat Cosejo proving their worth.

That was on display when the Generals exploded in the fourth period to turn back De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and carve out a 78-76 win to improve to 5-3.

A huge factor to their transition from underdogs to contenders was the arrival of head coach Jerson Cabiltes, who has seen success outside of the NCAA like MPBL, VisMin Super Cup, and PBA D-League.

"This is a big win for us, especially coming off a loss to San Sebastian where we played a dismal performance," Cabiltes said on Friday.

"So I challenged the players sa practice na kung hanggang doon na lang ba ‘yung kaya namin ipakita kasi kung hanggang doon na lang, eh ‘wag na kami mag-aspire sa Final Four."

"Sabi naman nila na hindi lang ‘yun ‘yung kaya nila. We played our hearts out today and luckily for us, we got the win."

(So I challenged the players in practice that if their performance will only be until that level, then let's not aspire for the Final Four. They said they could do more. We played our hearts today and luckily for us, we got the win.)

Cabiltes said he only emphasizes one thing to the players in their practices: to treat each game as their last.

"Kasi we’re not here just to play basketball, we’re here to compete. That’s why in every practice ine-establish namin ‘yung healthy competition among us sa mga players," he added.

"In-emphasize ko rin sa kanila going into this game and then moving forward is treat each game as a knockout kasi lahat ng standings ngayon ay dikit-dikit."

(We're not here just to play basketball, we're here to compete. That's why in every practice, we establish healthy competition among the players. I emphasized as well that going into this game and moving forward, we treat each game as a knockout because the standings are very close.)

—JKC, GMA Integrated News

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