Less than a week after Olsen Racela announced his resignation, the FEU Tamaraws have turned to a name from its rich past to turn the program’s fortunes around.
Denok Miranda, who won two titles on FEU’s star-studded teams in 2003 and 2004, will take over the reins of the UAAP’s most successful men’s basketball program, the team announced on social media Wednesday morning.
“Denok brings with him over 12 years of playing experience in the PBA and is a two-time UAAP champion,” part of the announcement read. “He has also been a head coach in the MPBL and has been an assistant coach for the Tamaraws since 2018.
“Known as an elite defender and leader during his time, Coach Denok is expected to instill a defensive and winning mentality with the team.”
Miranda played point guard for the back-to-back champion Tamaraws that featured future PBA players Arwind Santos, Mark Isip, RJ Rizada and Jeff Chan. He went on to play 12 seasons in the PBA. He is currently an assistant coach with the FEU Baby Tamaraws.
“I’m grateful and thankful sa opportunity na binigay sa akin ng FEU,” Miranda said in a post-game press conference following the Baby Tamaraws’ win over the UE Pages at the FilOIl EcoOil Centre. “Alam mo naman, doon ako naglaro nung college at binigyan ako ng opportunity na mag-blossom ang career ko. Yung culture sa amin, walang katulad sa ibang school. Medyo low profile.”
Joining Miranda in his coaching staff will be fellow FEU greats Johnny Abarrientos, Vic Pablo and Isip, along with Eric Gonzales, Allan Albano and Jonathan De Guzman.
Miranda said he will draw from his own playing experience in dealing with his players.
“Nag star player ako nag bench player ako, nag role player. Siyempre, alam ko ang nararamdaman ng mga players.”
The Tamaraws are coming off a disappointing Season 85 that saw them miss the Final Four for the first time in 10 years, ending the longest post-season streak in the league. Miranda made no promises for next season, adding that his modest goal would be to improve on FEU’s 5-9 record last season.
“Final Four, mabigat yan,” he said. “So ang (goal) ko lang, mag-improve kami. Ang masu-sure ko sa FEU community, bago na ang depensa.”