Onwubere: ‘Ito na ang pinaka-may chance na EAC’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 30, 2017 07:19 PM
Onwubere: ‘Ito na ang pinaka-may chance na EAC’
DARKHORSE. EAC will go all out to make history for themselves in the NCAA 93.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 6-12, 8th place

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Hamadou Laminou, Francis Munsayac, Sidney Onwubere

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Juju Bautista, Jgars Garcia

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Igee King, Jorem Morada

Emilio Aguinaldo College wrapped up its preseason campaign with a 3-5 card – a not so promising sign for a team determined to make noise in the upcoming NCAA.

Still, the Generals ended the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament with a win. “Masaya kami kasi even though no bearing na ‘to, kailangan namin yung panalo to get a positive note para sa team,” captain Sidney Onwubere expressed after they defeated Mapua University, 79-71.

More than that, however, one of the San Marcelino-based squad’s victories also came at the expense of UAAP Final Four team Adamson University.

That is exactly why even with the losing record in the preseason, EAC is on a morale-high as it enters NCAA 93 as a widely-regarded darkhorse.

This darkhorse has one thing and one thing alone on its mind. As Onwubere put it, “Ang goal talaga namin this year is to make it into the Final Four. Pinagtatrabahuan namin yun since last year.”

This darkhorse is nothing but confident about getting there. “Ito na talaga ang pinaka-may chance na EAC team,” the captain expressed.

Unfazed by traditional powerhouses like defending champion San Beda College, Jose Rizal University, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos as well as rising power Lyceum of the Philippines University, Cameroonian Hamadou Laminou seconded, “This year, our goal is to make a run for history because we have never reached the Final Four. We have a big chance this year.”

That confidence is rooted in the fact that aside from Onwubere and Laminou, the Generals have brought in big-time backup for the first time since they joined the league.

Talking about newcomers Juju Bautista and Jerome Garcia, Laminou said, “Last year, I was with Sidney and Francis (Munsayac), and we were the only ones carrying the team. This year, we have a lot more players who can step up.”

This early, Bautista and Garcia have already proven more than capable to be key cogs. “Ang maganda sa amin ngayon, mas intact pa kami in the sense na ang tingin namin sa sarili namin, family. Hindi na teammates and turingan namin, family na,” a confident head coach Ariel Sison shared.

In the end, however, EAC’s fate is and will always be intertwined with its three-headed monster of Laminou, Munsayac, and Onwubere. “Talagang sa kanilang tatlo kami magre-rely,” Sison said.

With all three of them even better than before, however, their mentor has every right to be feeling good. “Sana, ito na yung season na hinahantay namin. Sana, Season 93 na yung hinahantay namin na yung EAC, makapasok sa Final Four,” he said.

He then continued, “We’re optimistic about our chances. We’re praying hard, we’re practicing hard just to be in the Final Four.”

And Sison has one message for both his players and their fans. Asked how badly they want to make the playoffs, he answered, “We want it.”

And after pausing just for more flair, he continued, “We want it now.”

Even Onwubere, widely-regarded as a contender for an individual award, has his sights set on team glory and team glory alone. “Siguro, bonus na lang yung individual. Ako, as much as possible, gusto ko Final Four kasi yun yung bagay na pag-graduate na ako, ‘di ko na magagawang makapasok sa Final Four,” he said.

He then continued, “Nakakuha na rin naman ako ng Mythical Team nung (NCAA) Jrs. so gusto ko namang makaramdam yung feeling na Final Four.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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