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No ‘honeymoon’ for Denok, FEU

There will be no honeymoon period when Denok Miranda mentors Far Eastern University in Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.

Miranda said a lot of work has to be done so he will hit the ground running and prepare the Tamaraws as they gun for a return to the Final Four of the country’s most prestigious collegiate league.

Miranda will be handling a Tamaraws squad that has the talent and the experience to give heavyweights like Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines a serious run for their money.

In fact, at least 10 players are set to return, including stars like Cholo Anonuevo, Xyrus Torres and Royce Alforque.

Miranda, a former FEU star point guard, presided over his first training last Friday and he liked what he saw.

“I already talked to the players. Of course, I asked for their 100 percent support and cooperation. I asked for their 100 percent effort,” the 40-year-old Miranda, who formally replaced Olsen Racela as FEU head coach last week, said.

“I am already familiar with FEU so there will be no major adjustment. I promise to hit the ground running and do my best.”

Although he is no stranger to FEU, there’s still pressure for Miranda to deliver.

The Tamaraws have advanced to the Final Four for eight straight seasons, making them the only school with the longest semifinal streak in the UAAP.

But the streak ended last year as FEU suffered a rollercoaster campaign to finish with a 4-9 win-loss record at the end of eliminations.

They had a chance to catch the last bus to the semifinals but Adamson University, which is handled by Racela’s brother Nash, dealt them a 70-75 setback to send them crashing out of title contention.

Miranda said bringing back the glory years of the Tamaraws will not be easy.

“The UAAP is tough. There’s a lot of surprises here,” said Miranda, who quarterbacked the FEU squad that won the UAAP titles in 2003 and 2004.

“This is going to be a long process. I’m fortunate because the management understands the situation and it is not pressuring us to win right away. Of course, we have to improve every game and let’s see where it will go.”

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