Captain Marbel comes home

Kenneth Duremdes is back with the Adamson Falcons. (Photo by Maria Corina Bunani)

A former hardcourt hero of San Marcelino has come home to help guide the current breed of Adamson Soaring Falcons.

Kenneth Duremdes, one of Adamson's finest, the 1998 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Most Valuable Player and a three-time Mythical Team choice, is the new assistant coach of the Soaring Falcons in UAAP Season 75.

Coach Kenneth played for Adamson from 1990 to 1993 where he first made a name for himself as an athletic and high-flying forward. Teaming up with the likes of Marlou Aquino (until 1992) and EJ Feihl, Duremdes helped lead the Falcons to two straight runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1993. He moved on to PBA after two years in the Philippine Basketball League, and was picked third overall by Sunkist in the 1995 rookie draft.

After a year with Sunkist, Coach Kenneth was traded to the Alaska Milkmen, where his career took off. He became a major contributor on the Alaska team that won a grand slam in 1996. He was only 24 when he was named Most Valuable Player in 1998. He played 527 games in the pro league, averaging 13.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

And now, this 10-time PBA All Star (1995-2001, 2003-04) is back on the bench with the Soaring Falcons.

Captain Marbel, as he is famously called by PBA diehards, says his role on the team is to share his wealth of experience and help the players build their individual skills and abilities. He admitted in our interview that he already entered the team late.

"Tinapos ko lang 'yung commitment ko sa Powerade this conference kaya medyo late nako dumating and ngayon ko lang unti-unti kinikilala and dine-develop ang mga players," said Duremdes.

I asked him what it was like to be a Falcon back in the 1990s.

"A Falcon has to have a pride when it comes to competition. During our days wala kaming break. We practiced every day regardless of ano man 'yung distractions, ano man yung needs na wala kami unlike the players right now. But sa akin we just kept on fighting. Before, we were called Fighting Falcons," Duremdes added.

Becoming a basketball coach can be a very rewarding experience because you make a difference in the lives of your players. As a former PBA player and team manager, I asked Coach Kenneth about the difference between handling professional players and coaching college kids.

"Well, the job is different," he said. "You have to be more attentive to their weaknesses and to their minds. They are the future basketball players of the country. If you start them right, teach them the basics, the discipline and the right attitude, you will be a big help to them."

He added, "I've only been with the team a month so I am just beginning to know them one by one, knowing their weaknesses, scouting their strengths and their personalities."

I also asked Coach Kenneth about what advice he can give to his team for their upcoming games (the team is 1-2 as of this writing).

"They just have to believe that they can beat any team regardless of the line-up and talent of the opponents," he continued. "You have to put faith and make them believe that they can beat any team. Iyong self-confidence nila i-build up mo and you do that through practices."

Even though the Falcons are now missing several key players from last year, at least they now have Captain Marbel on the bench to guide them.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.

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