Ateneo releases Perasol, looks for new mentor
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) The search for Norman Black's replacement as coach of five-peat UAAP men's cage champ Ateneo drags on.
According to Blue Eagles team manager Paolo Trillo, Ateneo released Bo Perasol from his contractual obligations to assume coaching chores after a meeting with university president Fr. Jett Villarin last Monday.
"Fr. Jett told me that in his meeting with Perasol, they have mutually agreed to release each other from the obligations of the contract, so coach Bo won't be our coach next season," Trillo told The STAR yesterday.
Perasol, the former mentor of Powerade in the PBA, had actually signed a three-year contract to fill in for Black, who had left after eight fruitful seasons to call the shots for Talk n Text in the PBA. But Perasol got in a dilemma for it was Manny V. Pangilinan who was instrumental in bringing him in. Pangilinan had severed ties with the Jesuit school in the stretch of Season 75.
"While I'm grateful for the trust of Ateneo in me, there was really no doubt in my mind as to who my patron and benefactor is – and that is MVP. I believe that our mutual agreement to release each other from the contract is what's best for all concerned. I wish Ateneo well," Perasol said in a text message to The STAR.
With Perasol out, Ateneo is looking at the current coaching staff for the job, particularly assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga and Jamike Jarin.
"Obviously, coach Sandy is being considered, being the first assistant coach. He will probably be the prime candidate. Coach Jamike is also someone to consider," said Trillo, also not discounting the possibility that an outsider might be tapped to take over.
A decision on the new coach is not forthcoming as Villarin left for the US yesterday and would only be back after two weeks.
The Eagles, meanwhile, will begin life without Black when they compete in the University Games in Bacolod next week.
With Arespacochaga helping Black with Talk N Text, Trillo said assistant coach Gabby Severino will coach the Ateneo team composed of a mix of Team A and Team B players.
Kiefer Ravena, Juami Tiongson, and Nico Elorde along with seldom-used Isaac Lim, Von Pessumal, Gwynne Capacio, Chris Porter and Giboy Babilonia will banner the team.
Ateneo decided not to field in the five graduating players Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Tonino Gonzaga, Justin Chua and Oping Sumalinog in the Unigames.
Six members of Team B, led by Paul Siarot and Joma Adornado, will join Ravena and the rest of the squad.
Meanwhile, Villarin announced the creation of a Basketball Endowment Fund (BEF) designed to "provide for the operations and advancement of the men's, women's and juniors' basketball programs" following the withdrawal of support of Pangilinan.
"With MVP's departure, we have had to reassess our basketball programs and institute structural changes to offset this loss," Villarin said in a memo creating the BEF. "In this way, as in the past, we do not have to draw from the revenue streams of our University Athletics Office to support basketball."
Fr. Nemesio Que, SJ, the long-time chaplain of the Blue Eagles, has been tapped to head the BEF.
"We are now assembling a team who will assess the current cost profile; define funding targets; establish strategic and operational policies and structures; develop a set of viable goals and initiatives for the BEF; and organize marketing and promotions campaigns, among other things," Villarin said.