Vanguardia 'blessed' to get awaited chance to coach in PBA | Inquirer Sports

Vanguardia ‘blessed’ to get awaited chance to coach in PBA

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:15 PM June 04, 2016
Former Malaysia Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia. Photo by Celest Flores-Colina

Former Malaysia Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia. Photo by Celest Flores-Colina

Ariel Vanguardia couldn’t actually recall how many times he had been considered for a head-coaching position in the PBA and ended up not getting it.

That had the trend for Vanguardia as head-coaching opportunities came and went before he could even grab it.

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But just when it came to a point when Vanguardia started to keep himself from getting too attached as a way to somehow soften up the feeling of rejection, the time finally came to get his due.

“It’s a pleasant surprise when I got a call from team manager Paolo Bugia for the initial interview,” Vanguardia told INQUIRER.net on Saturday, recalling the moment he got a consideration to be the head coach of the Phoenix Fuel Masters. “I wasn’t expecting anything anymore since it’s like the second or third time I was considered by other teams but didn’t land the job.”

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In a way, Vanguardia had convinced himself that if ever he gets turned down again, he’s still in a good place.

“Besides, I’m happy with the Dragons and had laid out a long-term program developing Malaysian locals, starting with the PBA D-League,” said Vanguardia, who has spent the past few years coaching a Malaysian team in the Asean Basketball League.

Days later, news broke that Vanguardia has just been tapped to replace Koy Banal as Phoenix’s new coach.

“I’m so blessed that Phoenix’s long term vision is inline with what I want to develop if ever given the opportunity to lead a team,” Vanguardia said.

The 43-year-old Vanguardia said he’s still trying to process the feeling of finally getting the break he had been patiently waiting for.

“It’s all just sinking in, especially now that I’m here in Kuala Lumpur to get my stuff. I will definitely miss this country which has been very nice to me,” said Vanguardia, who just led the Westports Malaysia Dragons to their first ABL title last March.

Vanguardia, who acknowledged that winning his first ABL crown boosted his value, said he will still be part of the Dragons as adviser.

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“I will still be with the Dragons at a different capacity, I just spoke with the owner last night.”

Vanguardia said he has met with his new team last Wednesday.

He will be taking over a team which had the second-worst record in the Commissioner’s Cup.

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TAGS: coaching, Dragons, PBA, Phoenix
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