ALCANTARA, CEBU — Two years, two championships. Those are KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue and Southwestern University head coach Mike Reyes’ accomplishments in that span.
Eighteen months after SWU-PHINMA dethroned University of Visayas in the 2019 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. tournament, Reyes steered a pro team to the top. He guided KCS-Mandaue to the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Visayas championship.
Five years ago, however, Mike — the younger brother of current TNT head coach Chot — had one flaw that he needed to work on. He did not have the gift of tongue his brother had.
“Tinuruan ko sarili ko,” quipped Coach Mike about communicating better with his players.
Safe to say, he taught himself well.
Up against powerhouse MJAS Zenith-Talisay in the best-of-three finals, Coach Mike knew that he could not match the Aquastars man for man. Their opponents had averaged a league-leading 90.0 points scored per game during their 10-game sweep of the elimination round.
KCS-Mandaue had one ace up their sleeve, though — their tenacious defense.
And Coach Mike made sure to borrow one of Coach Chot’s famous lines before every game of the series.
“‘Yun naman pinag-usapan namin, ‘Let’s try to make history. Unang-una ‘to!’” he said.
“Sabi ko lang sa players, ‘Let’s give them 40 minutes of hell!’”
All throughout the three days they faced MJAS-Talisay, KCS-Mandaue played with a pitbull-like mentality. They deployed a pressing style for 40 minutes.
All in all, the best offense in the league was limited to just 68.0 points in the series. Their highest output was their 75 markers in their 14-point loss in the winner-take-all game.
Now with two championships under his belt, Coach Mike firmly believes that he has outgrown the “flaw” that hindered him in the past.
After all, players take on their coach’s identity.
“Of course, talagang it’s really satisfying. I’m getting the hearts of the players and that is why they responded,” said Mike, who celebrated his 55th birthday last Thursday.
“That is what I am truly believing in, that I captured their hearts.”
Source: Tiebreaker Times