CONTRARY to belief, players are not the only ones preparing for the long season of the coming Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Even coaches need to equip themselves.
So off to the Nike Championship Basketball Clinics at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas was Elvis Tolentino, head coach of the Marikina Shoemasters, one of the expansion clubs in the fastest regional basketball league in the country.
There, Tolentino got the opportunity to get pointers from some of the finest coaches in the United States, including Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim and another renowned coach/player Bobby Hurley.
Boeheim is the famed coach of the Syracuse Orangemen, the same team that produced NBA stars Carmelo Anthony and legends Dave Bing, Rony Seikaly, and Derrick Coleman among others.
Syracuse’s trademark under Boeheim, who was also part of the coaching staff of the United States men’s basketball teams in the 2010 World Championship and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, was his match up 2-3 zone defense.
Hurley, one of the members of the college selection which dealt the 1992 Dream Team a sound beating in a closed door scrimmage prior to undergoing training camp for the Barceloma Olympics.
A former player of Duke University under coach Mike Krzyzewski, Hurley was part of the 1992 Blue Devils champion team that featured Chrisian Laettner and Grant Hill.
Hurley also appeared in the movie “Blue Chips” starring Nick Nolte, Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway as one of the players of Indiana’s Bobby Knight.
As a coach, Hurley also led Arizona State to a First Four entry in the recent NCAA Tournament.
So when Tolentino got the opportunity of learning from two of the bets coaches in the US today, he didn’t pass up the chance.
“Kasi maganda yung yearly coaching clinic ng Nike,” wrote Tolentino in an exclusive interview.
Several Filipino coaches also attended the clinic, among them include former Bataan Defenders coach Kerwin McCoy and Allen Ricardo, former assistant coach of Phoenix in the PBA and founder of Milcu Sports Basketball.
One among the coaches who caught Tolentino’s fancy was Shaka Smart, head coach of the University of Texas and ex-mentor of VCU, teams which he led consistently to the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s really good in terms of motivating his players. Parang sa kanya ko rin pina-pattern yung weay ko on motivating my players,” added Tolentino.
So when the MPBL season starts, don’t be surprised to see the Shoemasters to contend against the big boys in the tournament.