FEU alum vows to bring winning tradition to EAC

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 31, 2015 06:08 PM
FEU alum vows to bring winning tradition to EAC
YOU SHOULD KNOW ANDY DE GUZMAN. Unlike Jamike Jarin in San Beda, new EAC coach Andy De Guzman has no ties to his school, but promises that he has the passion to take them to the next level.

In their first season as an official member school of the NCAA, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals will be parading an entirely new team.

Gone is the go-to-guy who can take over in Cameroonian Cedric Happi and gone is the recognizable face in coach Gerry Esplana.

In Happi's place will be a ragtag outfit out to surprise while replacing Esplana will be a mentor who will undergo a baptism by fire in his first head coaching stint in the big leagues.

Roaming the Generals' sidelines in the upcoming NCAA season will be 48-year-old Andy De Guzman, once Esplana's deputy and now the main man tasked with bringing the school forward.

The new EAC coach played for Far Eastern University from 1986-1990 and was a key cog in the Tamaraw team that placed second to De La Salle University in his last year. After spending some time in the amateur ranks, De Guzman then went on to coach AMA and St. Claire in NAASCU before joining Esplana’s staff.

Even without any personal ties to the school, De Guzman assured the EAC community that he is there to help them make history. “Dedicated ako sa ginagawa ko. Kahit I’m not an alumnus, passion natin ang coaching at binibigay ko ang lahat kasi kelangan mag-strive hard para sundan ka ng players mo,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

The former Tamaraw follows his college teammate who ended his stint as the Generals’ mentor with a 4-14 season. As De Guzman tells it, Esplana resigned right after the season amidst undisclosed reasons and recommended his deputy to succeed him.

Asked how it felt to be replacing his good friend and former boss, the new EAC coach said, “Siyempre, malungkot pa rin kasi marami na kaming pinagsamahan. Kaya lang, ganun talaga ang coaching career, kapag hindi nakakapagpakita nang maganda, papag-isipan ka nang palitan.”

Sharing his feelings as of the moment, De Guzman is confident that he has the backing of team management and the EAC community. “Talagang suportado ang pagpalit ko. Ang EAC, mapa-basketball o lahat ng events, dedicated naman ang support,” he said.

Despite his confidence and the backing of the school, the first-time head honcho shared that he wants to keep expectations modest. “We want to win as much as possible, but everyone should remember that we are still rebuilding the team. ‘Di naman pwedeng ibahin agad yung sistema, unti-unti lang,” he said.

Once he is given the initial period to adjust, however, De Guzman promised, “Next year, contender na talaga kami.”

That’s not to say that the Generals will just be punting away the upcoming season. “Tiwala pa rin ako sa team ko. Naniniwala akong we are a better team than sino mang makakalaban namin,” De Guzman told ABS-CBN Sports.

He then continued, “Lahat ng teams, pantay-pantay. Nakakasabay naman kami, kailangan lang ng consistency.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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