NU’s Eric Altamirano is UAAP 77 ‘Coach of the Season’
MANILA, Philippines – Coach Eric Altamirano of the National University Bulldogs is the “Coach of the Season” at UAAP 77 after steering his team to its second championship Wednesday, coming 60 years apart.
“I was overwhelmed by the victory,” said Altamirano in an interview after the game that saw the Bulldogs carve out a masterful victory against the Tamaraws, 75-59, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I thank God for the opportunity . . . of just being able to finish the game the right way,” he said.
Altamirano said despite the fact that the Bulldogs lost a lot of veteran players at the start of the season, the team “found a way to win”. “We found our identity, teamwork in our defense.”
“There’s something special about this team. They don’t give up, they refuse to lose, they really love playing for each other,” he said.
On Cameroonian Alfred Aroga, Altamirano said they were thankful that they were able to get him.
“This guy went through a lot of heartaches – from not being able to play last year,” said Altamirano.
He said Aroga gave “leadership” to the team and praised the way the Cameroonian handled himself “on and off the court”.
A seasoned coach, Altamirano has two PBA championships under his belt: In 1997 for Purefoods Corned Beef Cowboys and in 1998 for the Mobiline Phone Pals.
Altamirano started his basketball career in San Beda as a member of the Red Cubs. He later played in the UAAP as a player for the UP Fighting Maroons and became the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1986 when UP won its first and only UAAP championship.
He played in the professional basketball league for Alaska, Pepsi, and Shell.
He also coached the Nokia Pilipinas Men’s National under-16 national basketball team that placed fourth in the FIBA Asia U 16 Mens Tournament in 2009.
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