From dean to head coach: The unusual journey of EACís Ariel Sison

Ceej Tantengco on Sep 16, 2016 04:20 PM
From dean to head coach: The unusual journey of Ariel Sison
ďTeacher ako. Alam ko minsan ang estudyante, bagsak sa test ngayon, pero kung nag-aral, papasa Ďyan bukas,Ē - EAC Head Coach Ariel Sison

To call Ariel Sison’s resume unusual would be an understatement. The first-year head coach of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals holds a bachelor’s degree in BS Computer Science from EAC, a master’s degree in Computer Science from DLSU, and a doctorate in information technology at TIP.  While career coaches spent their lives in the court, Sison was the dean of EAC’s Information Technology department for eight years.

Sison says his background helps him coach a team through hardships. “Teacher ako. Alam ko minsan ang estudyante, bagsak sa test ngayon, pero kung nag-aral, papasa ‘yan bukas,” he says.


Open communication

The first change Sison made as head coach was to institute an open forum after each game. All players and coaches are encouraged to give feedback on each other or talk about what problems they see in the team or in themselves, as if to mimic the collaborative feel of a collegiate classroom.

Team captain Francis Munsayac says this made them more bonded than before. “Minsan masakit,” admits the point guard. “Pero maganda na rin kasi napag-uusapan.”

On Sison’s end, he’s seen the change from when he first took over the team. “Dati hindi sila nakakapagsabi kapag may problema. Pakiramdam nila kapag may sinabi ang coach, ‘yun na ‘yun,” he shares. “Sa akin, I’d rather say ‘this is what I want to happen. What do you think? How will you react?’


The new and the familiar

This isn’t Sison’s first crack at coaching. The 42-year-old coached the EAC-Immaculate Concepcion Academy Brigadiers in the high school division. Sison was able to shape them into a perennial Final Four contender, a big factor in him being chosen to take over the EAC Generals’ program.

The regimented classroom seems a world away from the raucous arena, but there are more similarities than meets the eye. A coach must play the same role as a teacher: encouraging good performances, correcting mistakes, seeing potential and unlocking it.

What Sison enjoys most: The combination of constant learning, something familiar to all teachers, with the constant change and adrenaline of sports

“Sa office, may routine ka na eh,” he says with a smile, thinking back on his 20-year career as an academic. “Pero sa dito sa coaching, bawat laro niyo, ibang challenge. Kahit parehong kalaban [ang haharapin], nag-iba na kayong dalawa since last kayo nagkita.


Ceej Tantengco is a courtside reporter with the NCAA. Watch the games live every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on S+A or livestream here. Follow this writer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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