Acaylar predicts Final Four stint for Perpetual

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 29, 2016 01:06 PM
Acaylar predicts Final Four stint for Perpetual
Ilista mo diyan na sinabi ko ‘yang prediction ko (na Final Four) confidently with a heart -- Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar

Whatever team he’s handling and wherever his team is playing, coach Sammy Acaylar never holds back when asked to assess his players’ chances in a given tournament.  

For the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Conference, the colorful University of Perpetual Help System Dalta coach has fearlessly forecast a Final Four appearance for the Lady Altas.

“At ilista mo diyan,” he directed this interviewer over the phone, “na sinabi ko ‘yang prediction ko confidently with a heart.”


Perpetual Help ambassadors     

A very transparent person, coach Acaylar does not hide the fact that he enjoys the image both his men’s and women’s squads have cultivated for the Las Pinas-based University of Perpetual Help System Dalta.

For winning the NCAA titles 13 times under his guidance, the Altas (3 times) and their male counterparts (10 times) have been fittingly called their school’s ambassadors of goodwill. It is a fact that the Altas spikers have more effectively promoted the image of UPHSD as an educational institution than any form of advertising.   

Acaylar attributed their successes in the NCAA to hard training and a fighting heart.

“My players have big hearts and well-placed confidence. Confidence can only come from hard training. When a player is properly trained he comes fully-armed for every game.”     

Born to  a life of grinding poverty in Cagayan de Oro City, Acaylar always strives to imbue his players with a deep sense of  determination during team-building sessions of which the telling and retelling of his story invariably becomes a part of these.

“Sobrang hirap at punumpuno ng drama at suspense ang buhay ko kaya I share it with anyone who cares to listen that there is always a way to achieve one’s goal in life if you only have the will to do it.”    

The second in a large brood of 10, Acaylar said he had to take night classes in school to help out his father, a construction worker, support their family. He played hide-and-seek with city cops while peddling on the sidewalks  native delicacies, tomatoes and onions. He realized early on that he could study in college through sports scholarships so he joined competitive school sports and excelled in them. He played volleyball, softball, ran the 800 and 1,500 all at the same time for Misamis Oriental General High School.    

He was good enough to make the Palarong Pambansa, where he was spotted and offered a full college scholarship by Rizal Province’s talent scouts joining the regional delegation from Southern Tagalog Athletic Association.

“My father was very much against it; he wanted me to work full time like him as a construction laborer after graduating from high school.”


Daring escape from poverty

And so in the dead of night he fled the Acaylar’s home and boarded a commercial ship bound for Manila equipped with a ticket earlier sent to him by Rizal Province. As the vessel pulled anchor and started moving away ever so slowly, his father, he recounted in detail, suddenly appeared at the pier, helplessly raging at him.

“Bubuhatin talaga ako o kakaladkarin ng tatay ko pababa ng barko kung puwede lang sana. Kinawayan ko na lang siya habang papalayo ang barko.”

In Rizal, known at the time for its rich stable of athletes pampered to the max, he was made to concentrate in volleyball. He went on to play for the national youth and senior teams five times and was able to travel to Thailand first at the age of 18, and then to Japan and China. Transferring from Rizal Technical College, he graduated with a diploma in BS Education in Physical Education and minor in Pilipino from Manuel L. Quezon University.

His first teaching job was in 1984 in Jose Abad Santos High School in Tondo; his first coaching job was at St. Francis in Las Pinas as assistant coach for eight years before he made the move to Perpetual Help as head coach.    

Now we know where coach Sammy Acaylar, now a healthy 57, got his big fighting heart and confidence from.

He has long been the breadwinner of the family he had from in Cagayan de Oro City. A number of his nieces and nephews stay with him in his own house in Cavite.

The child laborer and sidewalk vendor has indeed come a long way.


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