After leading the Valenzuela Classic to consecutive wins, former PBA Rookie of the Year and current Valenzuela coach Gerry Esplana has resigned as the Classic mentor.
Esplana confirmed this development to FOX Sports Philippines in a telephone interview.
“Hindi pala kami parehas ng direction. Iba yung gusto nila sa gusto ko, so there’s no point of continuing as coach,” Esplana said in a telephone interview.”
Esplana had several differences with the management, including intervening in the coaches’ decisions during games.
“Ilang beses na ring nangyari nagagalit sila sa amin dahil hindi ipinapasok yung mga bata nilang players. Syempre as coaches, gusto namin yung mga players na sumusunod sa amin,” added Esplana.
In the MPBL, teams are allowed to use 15 players every game out of the 22 listed their respective rosters.
But Esplana wanted to have a fix 15-man line up which he can use in the long run with the other seven serving as reserves.
Management, according to the 1990 PBA Rookie of the Year and multiple champion member, opted to use different sets of 15 players every game.
“Ang idea namin sa coaching staff, magkaroon kami ng Team A, which is in the 15-man line up and yung seven other players, parang Team B namin,” he added.
The last straw happened when management fired former PBA player Jojo Villapando, who served as Esplana’s deputy, without informing the head coach.
Esplana said he took a leave of absence for several games as he had already planned a vacation ahead before he was acquired as coach of Valenzuela.
“Matagal na naka-schedule yung bakasyon ko, kasi nga pupunta talaga kami sa Holy Land,” added Esplana. “Nagulat na lang ako na tinanggal nila si Jojo right after nung altercation nya with one of our players, Chris de Chavez.”
“Nabastusan talaga ako sa ginawa nila. Tinanggal nila si Jojo na hindi man lang ipinaalam sa akin and hindi man lang sila nag-investigate o kinausap si Jojo and si Chris kung ano nangyari.”
A former coach of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in the NCAA, Esplana decided to part ways with Valenzuela and already informed the management of his decision.
“Pinanghihinayangan ko lang talaga, kasi may mga players na kami na-develop, particularly yung mga bago at nakuha na rin namin yung suporta nila,” added Esplana. “Gusto naming baguhin yung kultura ng team dahil ako bilang sports director ng Valenzuela at dating player ng PBA, gusto ko maganda yung image ng Valenzuela at may reputasyon rin akong pinangangalagaan.”
Under Esplana, Valenzuela posted a win-loss record of 4-1, including a four-game winning streak.
Without Esplana, the Classic lost three in a row.