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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Vargas on Jolas: Job well done!

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JOJO LASTIMOSA steering TNT Tropang Giga to its first Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup crown as interim head coach definitely augurs well for the organization.

And the team’s brass are talking.

“We’re going to rethink his role,” TNT’s representative to the PBA board Ricky Vargas told BusinessMirror on Sunday. “He will continue to serve as a senior member of the Talk ‘N Text team.”

A promotion perhaps to full-time head coach in lieu of Chot Reyes who has more than a plateful at Gilas Pilipinas preparing for the FIBA 2023 World Cup the country is co-hosting later this year?

“We’re on a four-month break so let’s wait for what’s next,” Vargas said.

TNT beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-93, in Game 6 Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to win the Governors’ Cup for the first time—its ninth crown since it joined the league in 2001.

Vargas said that Reyes’s contributions as active consultant was one of the main ingredients of the championship run.

“We cannot set aside what coach Chot Reyes did in this conference despite him being busy as national coach preparing for the World Cup,” Vargas said. “He’s always there sitting on the bench and serving as an inspiration to the players.”

For now, Vargas said they would savor the championship moment.

“It feels good, it feels that at one point in time I thought I felt better than the first championship we got,” he said. “So it feels good.”

The Manuel V. Pangilinan franchise won its first PBA crown in the 2003 All-Filipino conference with Asi Taulava at his prime.

The 59-year-old Lastimosa, one of Alaska’s top players during its reign in the league, said he would heed whatever TNT management decides.

“As far as I know, this is a one-off. But I don’t know what MVP [Pangilinan] will do, Mr. Ricky Vargas and Mr. Al Panlilio will do,” Lastimosa said. “But I’ll be ready just in case.”

He added: “I can be a manager and a coach at the same time … I’m still doing my managerial job. I haven’t lost that one yet.”

Lastimosa reiterated his gratitude to the coaching staff—Josh Reyes, Sandy Arespacochaga and Yuri Escueta—for their successful campaign.

“We are running the same system as coach Coach Chot Reyes’s. I just have different substitution patterns and timeouts,” he said. “But generally, it was an incredible job by the coaches.”

One remarkable move under Lastimosa’s watch was replacing Jared Hudson after six games with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who didn’t disappoint as a legitimate National Basketball Association player.

The Best Import of the conference didn’t only provided the big numbers for the Tropang Giga, but the basketball smarts and court leadership and management that was a puzzle the Gin Kings couldn’t solve in the entire series.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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