Longtime teacher now leading EAC in making the grade in NCAA

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 15, 2016 03:12 PM
Longtime teacher now leading EAC in making the grade in NCAA
SHOUT-OUT. Ariel Sison is taking his teaching from the classroom onto the court.

Without a doubt, after all the coaching changes in the collegiate basketball, Emilio Aguinaldo’s hire garnered the least reaction, if at all.

There was one-time NCAA champion coach Aldin Ayo now in De La Salle University. There was multi-titled mentor in UAAP Juniors Jeff Napa now in Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

And then there was Ariel Sison, the new coach of the Generals who, with little to no fanfare, just went right at doing what he does best: educating his players. “Actually, nagulat din ako. Pero gusto ko patunayan na kaya kong mag-coach,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

The 42-year-old Sison is perhaps best known as the coach of EAC’s Juniors team, the Brigadiers. When school officials let go of Andy de Guzman, who led the Generals’ 2-16 campaign a season ago, it didn’t take long for them to recommend that their Juniors coach move up into the Seniors.

From the get-go, however, Sison knew all about what he was getting himself into. As he put it, “In-accept ko yung challenge kahit mahirap kasi ang gagaling ng coach (dito sa NCAA). Sino ba naman ako kumpara sa mga coach na ‘to.”

He then continued, “Pero sabi ko nga, araw-araw ako nag-aaral ng basketball. Tsaka alma mater ko ‘to e, ipaglalaban ko ‘to kahit ano mangyari.”

The new mentor of the Generals wasn’t kidding around with those statements.

When he said alma mater, he was actually talking about spending his entire life – yes, from elementary to employment – in EAC. And when he said basketball, he was actually talking about his other job – dean of EAC’s School of Information Technology.

Sison said he is, and has always wanted to be, an academician and that’s why his goal was always to educate – from his bachelor’s to his master’s and then to his doctorate degree. Coaching, obviously, is still part of educating and he said, “Yung comfort zone ko, iniwanan ko para rito. Sabi nga ng mga kasama ko, kung kelan ako naging doctor sa IT, saka ko iniwan.”

He then continued, “Pero basketball talaga ang hilig ko simula noon. At gusto kong matulungan doon ang alma mater ko.”

Indeed, the preseason already previewed the lengths Sison would go just to educate his players. Win or lose, his voice was hoarse after every game due to his constant shouting throughout 40 minutes and even more so during breaks.

Explaining his style of coaching, he said, “Yun ang way ko para i-express kung anong dapat gawin nila. Kahit wala akong boses, pinipilit ko talagang marinig nila ako kahit nasaan sila.”

EAC and their new coach are nothing but hoping to make the same sort of noise in the NCAA. “Basta hindi lang huli, kasi for the last two years huli kami e, masaya na ako,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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