Column name: One Game At A Time
To many, the collegiate basketball season drew to a close this week with Far Eastern University’s scintillating Game 3 triumph against University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday. The UAAP finale complimented the NCAA’s equally compelling finish where Letran ended years of frustration against fierce rival San Beda.
UST looked like it had a lock on the title with a six-point lead, after coming back from 10 points down, going into the last five minutes. But FEU’s vaunted reliable trio of Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy refused to buckle under the pressure and engineered the Tamaraws’ own endgame resurgence.
The UAAP and NCAA schools have some of the biggest communities in the country and have the most media exposure. Folks can get hooked on the frenzy when these basketball tournaments are in action.
But wait, there’s more.
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The stories now revolve around the musical chairs the coaches will go through as many college programs have opted to make coaching changes or some mentors have decided to part ways with the schools they have coached until this season.
The first major salvo, of course, was Letran champion coach Aldin Ayo moving over to La Salle after Juno Sauler stepped down.
Ateneo knew that Bo Perasol was into his last season of a three-year deal since he had announced in the second round that he was stepping down no matter what happened to the Blue Eagles in the Final Four.
Franz Pumaren, a five-time champion coach with La Salle, has signed with the Adamson Falcons.
But why all the interest in the college coaching changes?
Primarily, administrators look for mentors who will impart the schools’ values and traditions to a young generation of student-athletes. It helps immensely if the coach being eyed is an alumni of the school.
In other words, schools are looking for formators or teachers who will use the sporting context for character building and breeding student-athletes that their community can support and empathize with.
But the schools also want winning programs. All coaches know that there is no magic formula to win championships. It takes recruitment, logistics and tons of patience to whip up a successful college program. But many schools want to have winners immediately because of school spirit or bragging rights.
College coaches never have it easy as they have a whole network of stakeholders to manage aside from coaching the young athletes who will wear the school colors.
It’s never easy to find the coach who will fit the role immediately. Most of the time, schools hope for the best that the job can be learned or mastered along the way.
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