MANILA, Philippines – Though San Sebastian College fell short of a return to the NCAA Finals, the Golden Stags can take solace in the massive improvement they showed in Season 93 and the bright future that surely awaits the team.
San Sebastian's campaign in NCAA Season 93 ended at the hands of defending champion San Beda College on Tuesday, with the Red Lions securing the last spot in the finals with a 76-71 victory.
Regardless of the result, it was already a successful season for the Golden Stags, who made it back to the semifinals for the first time since Season 89.
"Nothing to be ashamed of," said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya, who steered his alma mater back to the Final Four in just his second season in charge. "Na-short lang."
Indeed, Macaraya believes that their Final Four appearance in Season 93 is just the beginning. He will welcome back an intact team next season, anchored by veterans Ryan Costelo and Michael Calisaan.
"Hopefully, everybody is healthy next year and will continue the hard work and the standard that we agreed to," said Macaraya.
"I know that we will have a bright future next year," he added.
Aside from Costelo and Calisaan – who will surely be determined to return to the Final Four after experiencing playoff basketball for the first time this year – the Stags will still have promising guards RK Ilagan and Enzo Navarro.
Jayson David is expected to make another leap after turning from defensive specialist to a more well-rounded player this year, while players like Alvin Capobres, Alfren Gayosa, and JM Calma bolster their frontline.
In the meantime, Macaraya is taking pride in how they have performed in Season 93, and in the process, gained the love and support of the San Sebastian community that had been dormant in the past few years.
"That's one of our goal and vision – to bring back the glory days of Baste," said Macaraya. "We're one step (closer) in achieving it. Hopefully next year, we can do better."
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