La Salle’s Sauler, SBC’s Fernandez bag awards
THEY proved to be successful right on their first try.
Thrust into pressure-packed posts this year, La Salle’s Juno Sauler and San Beda’s Boyet Fernandez coolly responded by piloting their teams to the championship of their respective leagues.
The remarkable feat earned both Sauler and Fernandez the Coach of the Year honor in the 2013 Collegiate Basketball Awards presented by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and Smart on Dec. 15 at Saisaki-Kamayan Edsa.
Despite taking over just 18 days before the UAAP fired off, Sauler amazingly transformed an unsure La Salle squad into a champion.
“I never stressed winning to this team, never stressed getting the championship,” Sauler said after his Green Archers disposed of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers in a gripping Game 3 of the men’s basketball finals.
“It’s all about improving and getting better on a daily basis.”
Fernandez, too, had a winning debut in the NCAA after steering the Red Lions to a fourth straight crown where they turned back fierce rival Letran in another Game 3 thriller.
But it’s a storyline that runs familiar in Fernandez’s coaching career as he also won PBA and D-League titles on his first attempt.
“I feel blessed,” said Fernandez. “Probably it’s the work ethic. I really don’t want to lose.”
As a rookie coach in 2007, Fernandez bagged the PBA All-Filipino crown with Sta. Lucia. Four years later, he won with NLEX in the PBA D-League’s inaugural season.
Collegiate scribes unanimously picked Sauler and Fernandez to receive the award in the affair supported by Smart Sports, Accel 3XV1, Gatorade, Meralco, Talk and Text, Filoil Flying V, UAAP Season 76 host Adamson, NCAA Season 89 host College of St. Benilde and the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
“It has been a great learning experience, not just for me but for the whole team,” Sauler said after the Archers’ incredible rise to the top.
“What a run, what a ride,” said Fernandez.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.