He may be on his first head coaching job, but Rich Alvarez already looks promising as a rookie mentor in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
In his third game with the squad, the former PBA Rookie of the Year towed the General Santos City Warriors to yet another win and stayed unscathed in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.
The Warriors added the Iloilo United Royals to their growing list of victims after scoring a 69-64 squeaker on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Alvarez picked up his third consecutive victory as coach. As a team, the Burlington-backed Warriors improved their win-loss record to 5-2 to forge a tie for fourth to fifth places with the Bicol Volcanoes.
Rob Celiz came away with another solid game for the Warriors as he wound up with his second straight double-double performance of 15 points and 15 rebounds.
His frontline partner, John Orbeta, also produced a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards for General Santos, which won despite shooting only 30-percent from the field (23-of-76).
But General Santos City’s defense, particularly on Richard Escoto, spelled the difference.
Considered as one of Iloilo’s main men, Escoto ended up with only four points and was held without a field goal the entire second half.
It was also the second straight loss of Iloilo, which dropped to 3-3 in this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.