Uichico taking over from Toroman? | Inquirer Sports
In Huddle

Uichico taking over from Toroman?

/ 11:39 PM January 21, 2012

While the Philippine basketball team is still to be formed, Jong Uichico said he will act as consultant and help head coach Ryan Gregorio’s Meralco team.
Although Jong did not divulge the specific position he will hold in the Philippine team, everybody believes he is replacing Serbian head coach Rajko Toroman, whose contract with Smart Gilas recently expired.
Despite his impressive credentials and the full support of SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, Toroman failed to steer the Philippine team to a better finish in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship last year. His contract with Smart Gilas is not expected to be renewed.
“I’ll help out with Meralco while I’m not doing anything yet,” said Jong, who was with wife Kathy at the media launch of Allan Gregorio’s “Higanteng Magilas” project at the Donken restaurant Thursday night.
Jong said he has yet to take a look at basketball’s international calendar to determine the next big tournament we should be preparing for.
“Perhaps it’s the Jones Cup in August,” he said.
Asked to predict the outcome of the ongoing PBA best-of-seven championship series, the multititled coach pointed to the big disparity between protagonists Talk ‘N Text and Powerade.
“But of course there’s always the probability of an upset,” he quickly adds. “Let’s just say that Talk ‘N Text has a better chance to win.”
Reminding Jong not to discount the immeasurable power of prayer in this series which may be one of the factors that propelled the Tigers to the finals against the highly favored Rain or Shine, I told him that Powerade governor JB Baylon had just paid another visit to the Redemptorist shrine in Baclaran right after winning their seventh match against the Painters.
The second time around, JB said he walked on his knees from the entrance of the church to the altar twice.
“I did it by myself the first time. Then Sean Anthony arrived at the church with his girlfriend. Together we did another stretch,” JB related. He said Powerade staff Gerard Francisco and Jon Sacro were there to witness and, later perhaps to vouch for the act of piety.
“Sean had made a vow that if he could play in Game 7 despite limping away in Game 6, then he would walk on his knees the way I did. It was the first time for him to do anything like that so I kept him company.”
At this point, JB still has no idea what he will do next.
Jong said he admires JB, but cautioned him to take care of his patella (scientific name for kneecap).
After a lengthy meeting between Azkals team manager Dan Palami and UFL chair Santi Araneta, the two have agreed that to ensure the success of Philippine football, the national team and the United Football League will have to work closely together.

“We both have realized that the UFL needs the Azkals and vice versa,” Santi said.

He added that one of the biggest problems of the Philippine team is how to monitor the players’ skills and fitness, including their availability.


“Through the help of the scouts of the national team, players with potentials to join the Azkals will be encouraged to join the UFL.”

Santi said the goal is to have a strong national team on all age levels and a very prestigious, respectable professional league in the country.

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TAGS: Basketball, Jong Uichico, Meralco Bolts, PBA, Rajko Toroman, Ryan Gregorio, Sports

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