With the end of the season for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the rebuilding process continues. Gone is Bo Perasol and some members of the coaching staff.
There are some immediate questions — do they participate in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League and who will play considering some, if not many of them, will need to catch up with their studies. But the more important question is — who will be the 37th head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles?
While the search committee has yet to be formed, what would be ideal for the team is to have the new coach in place by January 2016.
Who are the possible candidates?
Your guess is as good as mine. Here are just some of my ideas on who I think could be tasked to steer the Blue Eagles through the next few years.
I eliminated the impossible such as Leo Austria and Olsen Racela, who will not be easy to extricate from the San Miguel Corporation group, as well as Alex Compton, who is currently the head coach of Alaska.
Personally, the criteria I would set are:
* Must already possess a coaching background; doesn’t have to be a veteran coach.
* Must be respectable because that will help in the recruiting.
* Must have won a championship either as a player or as coach preferably in college, amateurs, or the pros.
* Must be able to teach and work well with the players.
I do not believe he should be an alumnus because really — how many good Atenean coaches are out there and who are available?
Having said that, there are two former Blue Eagles who are currently not tied up with any team.
1. Chot Reyes
Former Blue Eagle star who was a Mythical Five selection in the UAAP (1983). Coached Ateneo in the early 1990s before he departed for the pros where he was an assistant with Alaska. Has since stuffed his resume with five PBA Coach of the Year awards as well as eight PBA championships with Purefoods, Coca Cola, and Talk ’N Text to name a few of his accomplishments. Has coached the national team on several occasions where they have won gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Why he would be an excellent coach?
He understands what it is like to play and coach for Ateneo. Been there, done that. He is brilliant strategist and an excellent motivator. A winner. And with his resume — he will be able to recruit.
Well, he is like Jose Mourinho who draws attention to himself and that can be very distracting.
2. Vince Hizon
Star swingman for Ateneo in the early 1990s. First game against La Salle, he scored a phenomenal 44 points. Turned pro after a year of college ball. Was on Purefoods’ bench but after a year was traded to Ginebra where he became a big star. Won one PABL, four PBA, and one SEA Games gold medal.
Was been an assistant for Adamson the past three years; first with Kenneth Duremdes and now with Mike Fermin. His contract with the school is expiring so he is available. Currently the commissioner of the Filsports Basketball Association. Unsuccessfully ran for the post of PBA commissioner after Chito Salud stepped down.
Why he would be an excellent coach?
Is a winner and is so filled with positivity. Did a lot of individual work with Adamson’s Papi Sarr and Joseph Nalos (not taking away anything from Mike Fermin who did a great job). The results are evident in their game. The two led Adamson this past season.
Not enough experience in coaching.
3. Louie Alas
Former Adamson star who won championships in the PABL with Tanduay ESQ and Army Junglefighters. Was drafted by Purefoods during its first year in the pros. Unfortunately, was unable due to a career-ending injury. Made a name for himself coaching the Manila Metrostars to the MBA title in 1999 where they won 22-consecutive games. He was named the MBA’s Coach of the Year. He joined Mobiline (later Talk ’N Text) where he led them to respectable finishes. Coached Letran to three titles (1998, 2003, 2005) and a couple of second place finishes. Led Toyota-Otis to a PBL Finals berth where they lost to the star-studded Harbour Center Portmasters.
Why he will make an excellent coach?
He’s been a winner all his life and he knows a thing or two about taking teams with nary a faction of the budget that Ateneo has and turning them into winners. Look at the players he has recruited — Kevin Racal, Aaron Aban, Mark Andaya, Ronjay Enrile, Rey Guevarra to name a few. So imagine if he had that working budget...
He’s also coached star-studded teams such as the Manila Metrostars where he had Alex Compton and Rommel Adducul as players. Now he plays a crucial role as Compton’s assistant in Alaska.
Some people see the sheer physicality of the Letran Knights. Well, if you don’t have any budget, then you make the most of what you have. Has an eye for talent.
4. Boyet Fernandez
It is my media colleague and fellow Atenean Jasmine Payo who first broached the idea of tapping Boyet Fernandez as a possible candidate. We discussed that right before a UAAP match after which some others caught wind of the idea and wrote about it.
Went to Colegio de San Agustin in Bacolod where he starred. Was a star guard for the Sta. Lucia Realtors where he won as a player and as a head coach. Picked up the slack for Aboy Castro for the UP Fighting Maroons years ago. Joined San Beda where he won back-to-back titles and has won numerous D-League titles with NLEX. Now head coach of NLEX in the PBA.
Why he would be an excellent head coach?
Boyet is a patient and a gentleman of a coach. Very respectful and doesn’t like to call attention to himself. Has a very good work ethic. Loves to do scouting himself and works hard on game plans. Humble and a nice guy on and off the court.
Too nice a guy! But that’s not such a bad thing at all.