12 April 2016
Back to Back National Champions 2015-2016
How does it feel like being crowned as the National Champions back-to-back? by Coach Stephen L Metcalfe

In 2015, it had been four years since UPH basketball had been crowned National Champions. We came to the National Tournament as a three-seed underdog and played with the proverbial “chip on our shoulder”. Not that we did not understand the climate, we had been in the final four in all four consecutive years. In 2014 we had a great team and were expected to win when tragedy hit and we fell short. (Two players became academically ineligible, one player succumbed to liver sickness, and two players had season-ending knee injuries) all within two weeks. Therefore, our 2015 championship was a triumph in many ways, not to mention we beat the supposed number one team in the country, twice, in order to win the national championship.

So 2016 was a difficult story. We came to the tournament returning an excellent team who had won the year before. We were no longer the underdog but we were the team to beat. The tournament started the way it was expected and ended in a similar fashion. However, we did learn some lessons. Being the favorite to win and winning is sweet, as is the back-to-back wording on our championship T-shirts. But sweetness is not as sweet with emotion as when winning is not expected. The sweetness of a back-to-back championship is more like cherishing dessert you know well, not the surprise of a first taste that reaches beyond your imagination.

 What we accomplished in 2016 was an inner triumph not with raw emotion but with more subdued confidence, the joy of knowing we did what we knew we could. More importantly ware the words on all returning players the week that followed our triumph:

“Coach, let’s win it again” -the elusive “three-peat” that is followed by the word “dynasty”. There are a handful of players on this team that have a chance to play for three National Championships and they want it. As for me, absolutely, I have hoped, dreamed, and worked for an opportunity like this. So, a 2017 National Championship and all of the team who desire to win at the highest level, UPH is working to win its third and fourth in a row, back-to-back-to-back the Lord willing.