PBA: Gallent eyes 'minor' fixes after officially taking over as SMB coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2023 12:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2023 01:00 PM

New San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent. PBA Images
New San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Jorge Gallent does not foresee making any major changes to San Miguel Beer after he officially took over as head coach of the historic franchise ahead of the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup.

Gallent formally replaced Leo Austria ahead of the season-ending conference, after having already called the shots for San Miguel in several games during the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup. 

"I'm just very lucky that the bosses gave me this opportunity to coach a great organization. So I'm very happy," Gallent said of his appointment. "Pressured, yes, but you know, the management is always there to support us. So there's nothing to worry about."

His time in charge got off to a roaring start on Sunday, with the Beermen crushing Phoenix Super LPG, 114-93, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. 

It was a promising result for the Beermen, who are looking to bounce back after a semifinal exit in the Commissioner's Cup against the Bay Area Dragons. Gallent coached San Miguel for seven games last conference, compiling a 6-1 win-loss record. Austria returned in time for the semifinals but they bowed to the guest team in four games. 

"As what I told them, we just have to fix a little minor things. But nothing major," the 54-year-old Gallent said of his outlook as San Miguel's new coach. "The things we were doing in the past few games, we just fixed it a little. Which we're doing good."

Against the Fuel Masters, they scored 42 points in the first quarter alone and led by as much as 33 points. Five players reached double-digits in scoring, with import Cameron Clark putting up 23 points and June Mar Fajardo tallying a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double.

"We just have to play hard for 48 minutes. Whether you're coming off the bench or you're starting, you have to give that energy when you're inside the court," said Gallent.

Gallent, who previously coached the Purefoods franchise before joining the SMB coaching staff in 2011, will have big shoes to fill. Austria steered the Beermen to nine championships during his stint, including this season's All-Filipino Cup.

According to San Miguel, the 64-year-old Austria asked to go on a coaching sabbatical "for personal reasons." Nonetheless, they kept him as a consultant for the team.

However, Gallent admitted on Sunday that he has yet to speak with Austria since taking over his post.

"Not yet. Siguro in a few weeks. Or in a few days, sorry," he said.

San Miguel returns to action in the Governors' Cup on Wednesday against the Blackwater Bossing.

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