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Yayoy vows to deliver for UC

CEBU, Philippines - When the news about his appointment as head coach of the University of Cebu Webmasters broke out, many eyebrows were raised.

It caught everyone by surprise considering that UC's basketball program is already in place with longtime team manager Baldomero 'Merong' C. Estenzo and coach Kenneth Kernn Sesante at the helm.

Indeed, the move was a stunner in Cebu hoopdom.

But nobody can question the wisdom of UC owner Augusto 'Gus' Go in hiring the legendary Raul 'Yayoy" Alcoseba as chief strategist of his college basketball team.

More importantly, the 66-year-old Alcoseba brings with him not only a wealth of experience but also an inch-thick of shining credential the Webmasters need in their quest to end their five-year title drought in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI).             That's a lofty target Alcoseba has in mind.

"While we're in the middle of a meeting, Atty. Go suddenly asked me:'If I decide to make you coach of UC, will you consider it?' Then I replied quickly, 'of course'," Alcoseba recalled. "Two weeks after that, he again called me at his office and told me, 'I will hire you'. That's it."

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Alcoseba said he accepted the job offered to him by the UC big boss mainly because of his unflinching passion for coaching.

"I accepted it not for anything else but for my passion and love for the game," said Alcoseba, adding that Go's marching order for him is to form a UC ballclub that is a force to reckon with in both local and national leagues.

"He (Go) told me to get good players and form a highly competitive team. That includes hiring of a foreign player. We have to strengthen our recruitment process. That is the kind of path we have to take and the direction we are headed to," said Alcoseba.

A three-time champion player during his collegiate days with the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars in the Cebu Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), the precursor of CESAFI, in early '70s, Alcoseba is also a decorated bench tactician in Cebu's premiere inter-school athletic league.

He guided the Cebu Doctors' College (CDC) Stalions to two championships in the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA). He also streered the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras to a pair of CESAFI titles in five years before parting ways with the Phinma-backed squad just last month.

Given his countless accolades, some of which were deeply entrenched in the commercial circuit under the M. Lhuillier banner,

Alcoseba has nothing else to prove at this stage of his career.

But there's no stopping him from doing what he loves most.

"Coaching is not only about being a champion. It's like you're a teacher. When your student tops the Bar exam, does it mean you will now stop teaching? Of course, not. You keep on doing what you does best because you enjoy it and it's in your blood," said Alcoseba. "The passion and the love is there in my blood to coach and to teach."

And just like the past teams he handled, Alcoseba vows to deliver championship glory for the Webmasters before his three-year pact with UC ends in 2020. The Webmasters haven't been in the spotlight since June Mar Fajardo, now the country's most dominant cager with three straight MVP trophies under his belt, produced back-to-back CESAFI titles in 2010 and 2011 seasons.

"I will not be an overnight thing. I am not a magician," said Alcoseba. "But I can promise UC a championship in three years' time."

Given Alcoseba's pedigree, that is a highly achievable goal. (FREEMAN)

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