Denok Miranda to bring ‘hard working’ identity as player to FEU Tamaraws
MANILA, Philippines — Denok Miranda vows to instill his identity as a ‘hard working’ player and put a premium on defense after being named as the new head coach of Far Eastern University for the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
Miranda’s career has gone full circle as the former Tamaraw has been appointed to call the shots for his alma mater, replacing Olsen Racela, who handled the team from 2017 to 2022.
The 40-year-old coach may be a rookie coach among all the other UAAP teams but expect him to share his extensive experience as a player, who won two championships with FEU and had a 12-year PBA career.
“Siyempre magiging rookie coach ako diyan tapos ang makakalaban natin mga bigating coaches,” said Miranda, who steered the Baby Tamaraws to a 116-80 win over University of the East in the UAAP juniors basketball as Allan Albano missed the game due to personal matters.
“Siguro ang masasabi ko lang kilala niyo naman yung identity ko as a player siguro ang [madadala] ko is hard work.”
(As a rookie coach, I will be facing experienced and great coaches in the UAAP. But everyone knows my identity when I was a player, I am a hard worker.)
Miranda won two championships in the UAAP with Arwind Santos and Jeff Chan in 2003 and 2004 before he was drafted third overall by Coca-Cola in 2005. He won two PBA championships with Sta. Lucia in the 2007-08 season and with Petron in the 2011 Governors’ Cup and also played for Barako Bull, Global Port, TNT, and his final team Blackwater from 2016-2017.
“I will bring my experience from the PBA, playing for different coaches. I will share it with these young players because I experienced playing as a starter, role player, and bench player. I know what all the players are feeling,” he said in Filipino.
The Tamaraws will start training with Miranda as the head coach on Friday. The new FEU coach shared he already talk to 10 holdovers of the team including Cholo Anonuevo, Royce Alforque, and Xyrus Torres.
Miranda, who served as FEU’s assistant coach since 2018 and coached Binan City in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, admitted bringing back his team to the Final Four will not be a walk in the park.
But he assures to bring back the enthusiasm to the FEU community, seeking to turn the Tamaraws into a defensive team.
“[Bringing the team back to the] Final Four won’t be easy. But I can assure the community of a new FEU team, especially on defense. We will improve ourselves,” said Miranda. “Our culture has been known for defense. It will be a more exciting FEU. You know my identity as a player, I will share that with my team.”
The incoming rookie FEU coach knows he is not alone in lifting the Tamaraws from a seventh-place finish in Season 85 with a 5-9 record that took them out of the Final Four for the first time since 2012. The team kept its stacked coaching staff led by consultant Johnny Abarrientos and assistant coaches Albano, Eric Gonzales, Vic Pablo, Jonathan De Guzman, and Mark Isip.
“I’m grateful and honored that FEU trusted me to become the head coach. But I won’t be alone because my fellow coaches will be there to guide me and they are already giving suggestions on defense and offense. We will balance everyone’s input,” Miranda said.
Although he is set to instill some changes to the team’s system, Miranda promises to continue to embrace the culture of the Tamaraws that molded him as a player almost two decades ago.
“FEU’s culture is one of a kind. We’re low profile but we bring a lot of pride,” he said.