SUCCESS at one level doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in another. Take it from coaching legends like Rick Pitino, John Calipari, and Tim Floyd who has had a considerable amount of success in the US-NCAA but failed to do so in the NBA.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad coaches overall, as most of their misfortunes at the pros are far beyond from their control.
Here at FOX Sports PH, we look at some of the notable college coaches who, so far, didn’t enjoy much coaching success at the PBA.
Before being known as a successful college coach in the Letran Knights in the NCAA, Louie Alas was seen to be manning the sidelines for the defunct MBA and in the PBA, where he took over the coaching reins for the Mobiline Phone Pals. The strong-willed coach towed the Phone Pals all the way to the league’s best record in the 2000 and 2001 Governor’s Cup, but to no avail as they were bounced during the playoffs. Despite laying a viable foundation for the struggling team, Alas shockingly stepped down from his coaching duties due to disagreements with the management — particularly when he picked Gilbert Demape instead of sweet-shooting guard John Arigo in the 2001 PBA Draft.
Alas was also able to have a hand in coaching the national team and in the ABL for the Philippine Patriots. Currently, he is right back at it as he is now the head coach for the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
Prior to coaching in the professional ranks, Koy Banal had quite an extensive resume in the amateur and collegiate ranks. He steered the loaded FEU squad to two titles back 2003 and 2004 and he won another one for San Beda in 2006, where he also earned for himself a Coach of the Year award. From there, Banal went to the pros, serving primarily as an assistant for Purefoods and Petron. Soon after, he was named head coach for the Barako Bull but it wasn’t too long until the franchise was sold eventually to Phoenix Petroleum.
Despite his underwhelming head coaching stint in the pros, Banal has remained as one of the most respected coaches out there, especially being one of the more decorated coaches in the collegiate ranks.
San Beda alumnus Frankie Lim was one of the more successful coaches in the collegiate ranks as he led his school to multiple championships in the NCAA; the most dominant one being in 2010, where the Lions posted a 18-0 record en route to their third title in five years. From there he would have a short stint in Indonesia’s National Basketball League, serving as a head coach for Stadium Jakarta.
After acting primarily as an assistant for the Ginebra Gin Kings in 2015, he was thrust immediately to the head coaching role after the team’s early exit in the Commissioner’s Cup. However, Ginebra’s top management didn’t give him enough chances as they immediately tapped Tim Cone’s services after a couple more early exits.
Much of UST’s rise in the UAAP can be owed to Pido Jarencio, especially in the mid-2000’s. In his debut season as head coach, the former UST alumnus steered the Growling Tigers to championship anew in 2006, beating the heavily-favored Ateneo in a hard fought three-game series. He would go on to lead the Espana-based squad to two more finals appearances in 2012 to 2013. Thanks to his contributions to their basketball program, he has ingratiated himself to the UST-faithful as one of the most popular coaches of all time.
In 2014, he was tasked to take over the head coaching duties for the Batang Pier. Jarencio ended his first season as a PBA coach with a horrid 2-16 win-loss record. Despite doubling his win total in his first two conferences the next year, the GlobalPort management has decided to relegate him as a team consultant. Soon after, he was reappointed once again as the team’s top coach.
Right after playing in the PBA for San Miguel and Mobiline, Franz Pumaren brought his brilliance to the sidelines for the DLSU Green Archers. Known for his full-court press and player development, Pumaren has racked up five UAAP titles — a four-peat from 1998-2001 and his last one in 2007. After coaching for more than a decade for the Taft-based squad, the steady mentor decided to bring his talents in the PBA by joining the Air21 Express in 2011.
It’s safe to say that his pro coaching career has been subpar — highlighted by multiple failed campaigns with Air21 and GlobalPort. But with where things are now, he is relishing the opportunity to coach another collegiate team, this time, for the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Unbeknownst to many, Nash Racela has had quite an experience in coaching all levels of Philippine basketball. He coached for the Batangas Blades back in the defunct MBA and for the San Beda Red Lions in 2005 before finding his way to Talk ‘N’ Text as one of their tenured assistants. He also helped in making the FEU Tamaraws a consistent final four contender in the 2010’s – including winning a title in UAAP Season 78 against UST. His program in FEU made it conducive for guys like RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, and Mac Belo to blossom as some of the top athletes our country has to offer.
While he racked up a lot of titles as an assistant to TNT, that is not the case so far during his head coaching stint. And with the KaTropa not performing to expectations, he is reported to be on indefinite leave with the team.
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