Jong Uichico tipped to steer B-MegBy Musong Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HONG KONG—All indications point to seasoned Barangay Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico taking up the head-coaching duties at B-Meg starting this season in the Philippine Basketball Association.
San Miguel Corp. officials are said to keep a very short list of possible replacements for Jorge Gallent, who will slide down to assistant coach after compiling a 20-24 record in his first season as PBA head coach.
The prospects of Uichico coaching a third San Miguel team in his career loomed large after Siot Tanquingcen was named as his co-head coach at Ginebra.
That left Uichico, Gee Abanilla of Petron and Richard Del Rosario, one of Gallent’s deputies at B-Meg, as the remaining candidates.
Uichico, the most experienced in the group, commands a lot of respect from the players, making him the most logical choice to succeed Gallent.
Gallent enjoyed unprecedented success as a coach of Harbour Centre in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, but his stint on the
B-Meg bench was wracked by injuries to several key players.
Under Gallent’s watch, B-Meg floundered as injuries sidelined Kerby Raymundo, former Rookie of the Year Rico Maierhofer and two-time MVP James Yap.
The Llamados finished fourth in the Philippine Cup, seventh in the Commissioner’s Cup and sixth in the Governors’ Cup last season.
Uichico has won a total of eight titles so far, including six with San Miguel Beer and two with the Gin Kings.
Ramon S. Ang, president and CEO of San Miguel Corp., told reporters last week that Gallent’s replacement “will come from within the (San Miguel) family.”
The rumor mills still churned, however, and linked Alaska coach Tim Cone to the job.
Cone still has a live contract with the only team he has coached for since 1989.