UP finally changes Maroons coach

By Alder T. Almo

Posted at Jul 23 2010 12:37 AM | Updated as of Jul 24 2010 09:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Aboy Castro is on his way out as head coach of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons.

Castro, who is in his 3rd season with the Maroons, filed an indefinite leave of absence last Tuesday, according to Leilani Gonzalo, UP College of Human Kinetics dean and junior board member of the school in the UAAP board.

Castro remains as the UP head coach on paper until the university board decides on the matter. Assistant coach Potit de Vera was appointed as an interim coach.

Castro, who is also an assistant coach of Talk ‘n Text Phone Pals in the PBA, could not be reached for comment as of this posting.

Castro has a 6-24 record with UP, leading the team to identical 3-11 slates in his first two seasons.

This season, the Maroons dropped their first 2 games with him, and apparently, it didn’t sit well with some sectors of the UP community. This came at the heels of a massive build up by the team that included a training camp in the US last summer.

He was no longer present when UP absorbed an 81-87 overtime loss to UST on Thursday.

The Maroons’s assistant coaches De Vera, Jerry Codinera and newly appointed team consultant Boyet Fernandez handled the team by committee.

Fernandez was invited to join the team on a consultancy capacity last week, fueling speculations that he is set to become the new head coach of the Maroons. He first sat on UP’s bench last Saturday, ironically, believed to be the last game of the Maroons under Castro.

Fernandez, who led Sta. Lucia Realty to a PBA title in 2008, was seen mapping out plays during the crucial stretches on Thursday’s game against UST.

Gonzalo, however, reiterated that nothing has been decided, and that Fernandez is with the team as a consultant.

“We told the boys to look at this situation as a test of their training to build their character,” Gonzalo said.

Despite Castro’s absence, assistant coach Codinera said the team’s morale is still upbeat.

“The boys responded well. Nagpakita naman sa game (against UST). We believe that we just have to get that first win and that might trigger a run,” said Codinera during the post-game interview.