Chris Gavina embraces new challenge as coach in MPBL
After his “unconventional” job at Kia in the PBA, coach Chris Gavina is relishing the fresh start as head coach for1 Valenzuela Classic in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
The 38-year-old mentor is confident that unlike his run in the pro league, he will have a better chance to showcase what kind of coach he is as he will be working with players who have made their names in the barangays.
“I’m confident that I’ll be able to imprint my style and my mentality with this team,” he said. “I’m just looking to build a culture where everybody’s held accountable and has that championship mindset.”
Gavina has always put a premium on hardwork, taking pride in how hard his players competed despite the overwhelming odds during his days with Picanto. That underdog mentality is what he is trying to foster with Valenzuela.
“I think as a coach, it’s a challenge that you will accept, to be able to show some of the local coaches who haven’t maybe made it to the pro level that they’re more than capable of nurturing guys that aren’t heralded,” he said. “When you’re able to showcase the unheralded guys, it just shows the ability of the coaches to be at a topnotch level.”
Visibly more relaxed compared to the last time he was seen in public, Gavina sees a seamless transition coaching from the PBA to the MPBL seeing how tough the Classic are competing in their practices.
“Since I took over a week ago, I’ve seen a tremendous spirit in our guys. The way that they want to be coached, they want to improve and they’re looking forward to being led by somebody with a pro experience. What I’m able to share with them, hopefully, can comprise to a winning mentality and culture in Valenzuela,” he said.
Fortunately for Gavina, he has tested players in Erwin Sta. Maria and Rocky Acidre to lean on, as well as former Letran Knights Jom Sollano and Ford Ruaya in the Valenzuela camp.
Gavina maintains, though, that he still has no room for crybabies in the Classic.
“There’s none so far. I think I haven’t had to throw anyone out of the gym,” he said with a sly smile.
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