MANILA, Philippines—The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers coaching staff imparted a piece of their basketball knowledge to the country’s local coaches during a free coaching clinic Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
About 300 coaches attended the two-hour clinic conducted by Rockets assistant coaches JB Bickerstaff, Dean Cooper and Chris Finch and Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, assistant coaches Nate McMillan, who also serves as Team USA’s assisant, and Popeye Jones and defensive coordinator Dan Burke.
Among those who took time and attended the clinic were PBA assistants Topex Robinson of the Alaska Aces and Olsen Racela of the San Mig Coffee Mixers.
“As coaches, we’re still here to learn. We’re in the PBA but It doesn’t mean that we’ve learned everything. We’re hoping to learn more from these NBA coaches,” said Racela, a former head coach of Petron Blaze.
“All the while, you watch the games, and hearing it from I guess one of the best minds in the basketball world to me it’s really humbling for me as a young coach here,” Robinson said.
The basketball team of the Our Lady of Fatima was also invited to demonstrate the drills. The Rockets coaches ran through pick and roll drills with Bickerstaff focusing on its fundamentals, Finch incorporating ball screens in a set offense and Cooper on defending the screen and roll.
The Pacers coaching staff meanwhile, headed by Vogel, concentrated on team play on both ends of the floor – emphasizing on passing and spacing for fluidity at the offensive end and the importance of communication for an effective defense.
“Marami kaming natutunan (We learned a lot) about ball screens and passing just like what coach Vogel told us,” added Racela.
Robinson too, learned a lot.
“I guess they taught us two different stuff. The Houston coaching staff is more detailed on the things that they run especially with how they handle the pick and roll. With the Indiana Pacers it’s more of how you work as a group,” added Robinson, who is also the head coach of the San Sebastian Stags in the NCAA. “It’s a never-ending thing for coaches. You always have to think that your cup is empty because once you think you’ve had enough, the learning stops.”
“Teamwork is something you work for and achieve not just talk about,” the 40-year-old Vogel said as the local coaches listened and watched intently as the players with the helping hand of the coaches work through the drills. “We don’t have any superstars. We’re a team-first team. We don’t have the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant or a Dwight Howard. We rely on our togetherness, passing and teamwork that’s why we have a smash mouth and physical type of basketball.”