MANILA, Philippines -- Rain or Shine made the surprise decision to change its head coach on Monday, appointing Chris Gavina to call the shots for the Elasto Painters while erstwhile coach Caloy Garcia was named active consultant.
Co-team owner Raymond Yu explained that the changes in the basketball landscape -- including the national team -- compelled them to make the shock move.
"We were looking at, you know, the basketball landscape in general. We needed to make some changes," said Yu.
One reason for the change was that Garcia had been included in the coaching staff of the Philippine national basketball team, and the Rain or Shine brass wanted to ensure that there would be no distractions within their own squad.
"We were thinking, hanggang 2023 pa 'to eh, 'di ba?" said Yu. "So baka mag-cause ng maraming distraction sa team."
With other PBA teams making moves, Rain or Shine turned to a familiar face. Gavina had been with the team since 2018 as an assistant coach and had previously called the shots for the TerraFirma franchise during its early seasons.
Yu acknowledged that Gavina may not have the long years of experience of other PBA head coaches, but they trust him to keep the Elasto Painters competitive and to develop the team further.
"I see a lot of potential in Coach Chris. When he was still with KIA, he was able to bring KIA to the playoffs," Yu noted. "So, I understand he's not an established coach yet in the PBA, but I see a lot of potential in him."
Gavina, for his part, accepted the challenge of leading the Elasto Painters.
Rain or Shine has been a perennial playoff team during Garcia's tenure, but they have not won a championship since the 2016 PBA Commissioner's Cup, when Yeng Guiao was still in charge.
"One good thing about this organization is we're like a family, so when I was appointed head coach of the team where I'm already a part of, it was easy to accept. We're a playoff contender, but we look forward to winning championships in the future," Gavina said, via the league website.
Yu stressed that Garcia will remain a fixture in the team.
"Kailangan pa rin natin, kung ano 'yung pwede niyang i-contribute sa team, sa laro. He's there to help in any way that he can," the Rain or Shine boss said.