Coach Egay’s birthday gift: Final Four return for San Sebastian

Coach Egay’s birthday gift: F4 return for San Sebastian
YEAH, WE BACK. In his second season, head coach Egay Macaraya has guided his alma mater San Sebastian back into the Final Four.

The last time San Sebastian College-Recoletos was in the NCAA Final Four, Egay Macaraya was calling the shots for Centro Escolar University.

There, the then 52-year-old was building up the Scorpions into a force to reckon with in the NAASCU and later, the UCBL.

And since 2013, the Golden Stags have yet to make their way back to the playoffs.

Fast forward four years and Macaraya is now in his second season calling the shots for his alma mater Baste.

And just like he did with CEU, he is guiding San Sebastian to legitimate contention.

With a win against fellow traditional powerhouse Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Tuesday, the Golden Stags have returned to the Final Four for the first time in four years.

And their long-awaited, much-wanted return couldn’t have come at a better time as it just so happened to be the birthday of their mentor. Asked if he got the perfect gift for turning 56-years-young, he answered, “Yes, yes, yes. Alam mo, yung pinaghirapan namin sa Baste, every win, maganda talaga sa amin.”

He then continued, “Ngayong nandyan na kami sa Final Four, thanks God. Well done sa mga players ko pati yung coaching staff ko kasi they deserve to win right now.”

Indeed, the players and the coaching staff made it a point that Macaraya would have even more reason to celebrate other than turning a year wiser. “Talagang nag-focus lang po ako. Tahimik po ako kanina sa dugout at iniisip ko po yung mga gagawin ko para manalo,” main man Michael Calisaan said after dropping a career-best 36 points in the win.

He then continued, “Gustong-gusto ko po talaga manalo ngayon lalo na birthday po ni coach Egay.”

Nothing but appreciative, the head coach responded, “Thank you. Thank you so much, Michael.”

Still, Macaraya said he and San Sebastian have nothing to celebrate just yet. Asked about any celebration on the night of his birthday, he answered, “Wala pa ngayon kasi kailangan pa naming mag-focus e. Ang pinag-usapan namin is after na sa NCAA kung ano man ang mangyari.”

And for their upcoming do-or-die matchup with Jose Rizal University on Friday, the birthday boy had this to say, “Kaya nga naiwan muna ang celebration for my birthday because ayaw mo naman na mag-birthday ako at hindi kami malasing.”

Sounds like there will be a big party in Recto, if the Golden Stags will have their way.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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