MANILA, Philippines — Denok Miranda is using his experience from playing in the UAAP to the PBA in rebuilding Far Eastern University’s men’s basketball program.
As he makes his coaching debut for FEU when it battles La Salle in the UAAP Season 86 on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena, the former Tamaraw puts a premium on composure.
“Unang una yung composure kasi college ball, college players ang bilis ng pace eh. So, tinuruan ko sila this season na mag-compose lalo na ‘pag up and down yung laro, scrappy. Ma-compose, ‘wag ma-rattle,” said Miranda, who started working as FEU assistant coach in 2018 until he was promoted last January.
(I taught them to be composed because college ball is a fast-paced game. Especially when the game is up and down and scrappy, they can’t be rattled.)
His championship runs in the UAAP in 2003 and 2004 and his 12-year experience in the PBA prepared the 41-year-old to take the coaching reins for his alma mater.
“When I was a player I was like the second coach, especially during the time of coach Koy [Banal] in FEU. Mostly, I called the plays and executed my own strategy. In the PBA, my teammates also let me play my game,” he said in Filipino. “I want my players to do the same thing because I am only in the sidelines teaching them and the situation is different when you’re inside the court. They have to create their own strategy.”
Miranda admitted that the team, bannered by LJ Gonzales, Cholo Añonuevo, Xyrus Torres, Patrick Sleat, and James Tempra, is still adjusting to his system.
“So far, the team is still mastering our system. I introduced them to a new system and it’s not easy to adapt right away. It won’t happen overnight, we’re still a work in progress,” he said.
FEU seeks to rise back to the Final Four after it missed the semifinals for the first time since 2012 last year.
“My goal this year is to improve from last season. We have to take it one game at a time because you can’t predict the competition today since all the teams are strong. Hopefully, we can make it to the Final Four,” Miranda said