Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio has named Sandy Arespacochaga as the new head coach of Batang Gilas that will see action in the FIBA World Cup under-19 tournament this June as well as the FIBA Asia Championships under-16 slated this year.
Arespacochaga isn’t new in handling a team as chief bench tactician since he coached the Ateneo Blue Eaglets that won the UAAP juniors championship in 1999 and 2000.
Over the years, Areapacochaga has developed a reputation as one of the best motivators and teachers among young players. A soft-spoken and mild-mannered person, his style of coaching is expected to provide great impact on the Batang Gilas players as the under-19 team, which include Kai Sotto, is set to compete in the World Cup 2019 in Heraklion, Greece.
“Sandy has proven his worth as a youth basketball coach. He has won championships in the high-school level and has been an active member of the highly successful Ateneo college basketball program,” said Panlilio.
“Batang Gilas U-19 has performed well. It is important that we give them a great fighting chance to win games and get the valuable experience necessary to be competitive in that age group consistently. Sandy’s demeanor is perfect for our young players. He is a natural teacher whose method of teaching is what our young players will embrace and appreciate. He uses his strong communication skills and low key personality to get the best out of his personnel,” he added.
Arespacochaga joined Ateneo’s men’s team as part of the coaching staff of coach Joel Banal in 2002 that won the UAAP title, and with coach Norman Black that bagged five straight UAAP crowns from 2008 to 2012, and the school’s back-to-back titles so far in 2017 and 2018 under coach Tab Baldwin.
Arespacochaga also worked with different PBA teams as part of the coaching staff of Black at TNT, coach Yeng Guiao at NLEX and at the moment with coach Bong Ravena of TNT.
“It is important that we teach our young players to not only play good basketball but more importantly, conduct themselves positively inside and outside the basketball court. With his focus on a strong and wholistic values enrichment program, we in the SBP are confident that the success of the Batang Gilas program will be sustained and will eventually benefit even our Gilas Men’s program,” Panlilio concluded.