It’s a natural path for sporting legends to become coaches after their playing days.
The knowledge they have acquired during their heyday are priceless in honing the younger generation of athletes. That being said, some Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) legends came back to the sidelines as head coaches in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). Here’s how each one of them is doing so far:
The ‘Velvet Touch’ had a magical 1996 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with the trey that tied the count against Barangay Ginebra in their do-or-die semifinals game. He also converted a last-second fadeaway jumper that sent their finals series against Alaska to a seventh game. After he decided to hang his sneakers, he became an interim head coach for the GlobalPort Batang Pier and an assistant for the FEU Tamaraws.
Ticzon is trying to bring back the magic as head tactician of the Navotas Clutch, replacing Elvis Tolentino who is now with the Marikina Shoemasters. However, as of writing, the Clutch have a 2-3 win-loss record. The team showed great promise when they defeated the Pasay Voyagers and the Caloocan Supremos in their first two outings. But after the dream start came a three-game losing skid to the Laguna Krah Heroes, the Mandaluyong El Tigre, and the Zamboanga Valientes in that order.
They were on their way to a fourth loss at the hands of the Muntinlupa Cagers but the game was halted with 1:35 left in overtime due to a broken ring. This game is yet to be replayed. The Clutch will hit the road for their next two games against the Pasig Pirates and the Shoemasters, respectively.
Like Ticzon, ‘Mr. Fourth Quarter Man’ is also an assistant of Olsen Racela in FEU. Prior to that, he had deputy coaching stints with the Alaska Aces and the NLEX Road Warriors. Recently, he has been tasked with interim head coaching duties for NLEX due to coach Yeng Guiao’s assignment in the Asian Games and he has guided the squad with a surprising 2-0 record over the TNT Katropa and the NorthPort Batang Pier.
But prior to becoming temporary head coach in the PBA, Lastimosa has been plying his basketball smarts for the Bataan Risers and the results are impressive. They are currently behind the San Juan Knights-Go For Gold in the Northern Division with a 5-1 record with their only loss coming at the expense of the Manila Stars. But aside from that loss, Jolas and the Risers have conquered everyone that has come their way.
The Risers had a convincing win against the defending champion Batangas City Athletics, 81-67, on June 27. They followed that up with a 91-88 squeaker over the Davao Occidental Tigers on July 6 and a 62-58 victory over the General Santos Warriors. On July 28, they defeated the Imus Bandera, 95-85. Then on August 8, Bataan lorded over the Quezon City Capitals by 33 points, 101-68.
Their scheduled game against Marikina on August 18 was cancelled due to issues regarding the venue and this is yet to be played as well. They will play next on the 1st of September against the Makati Skyscrapers at the Lagao Gymnasium in General Santos City.
After serving as an assistant coach to former rival Robert Jaworski in Ginebra for seven PBA seasons, it felt right for someone called ‘The Scholar’ to win a national championship with the San Juan Knights in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. Now, he will try to revive the same glory as head coach of the Manila Stars in the semi-professional league founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA Most Valuable Player Kenneth Duremdes as commissioner.
By the looks of it, he is an excellent teacher of the game as the team representing the nation’s capital only has one loss in six outings. They could have been flawless if only they defended Makati’s Jeckster Apinan’s lay-up with 3.2 seconds left in regulation to give the Skyscrapers a 99-98 cardiac victory.
Prior to that loss, they defeated the Risers at their home floor, 89-82. After the Makati loss, the Stars shone bright with a four-game win streak courtesy of the Valenzuela Idol Cheesedog (89-84), the Cebu City Sharks (107-76), the Pampanga Lanters (100-75), and the Bulacan Kuyas (84-62). The win over the Sharks was so impressive that Cezar led the Stars to a 27-0 first quarter tally. Manila even scored the first two points of the second period before Cebu made a basket. Their next assignment is at their home floor, the San Andres Sports Complex, against the Pasay Voyagers on August 29.
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