Bo Perasol finds balance as UAAP coach
MANILA, Philippines — Bo Perasol’s coaching journey was one par of the course for anyone investing his life and who is fully entrenched in his field of work.
His resumé includes an assistant coaching gig with University of the Philippines’ high school team after he graduated with a Mass Communications degree in the same institution, and head coaching positions with Welcoat in the Philippine Basketball League and the Laguna Lakers in the Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Perasol then moved into the big leagues when he handled Air21 and Powerade in the PBA before going back to the scholastic circuit to become the head coach of Ateneo and finally with his alma mater UP.
In between those coaching stints was him taking a totally different role that he loved to the fullest.
Before he jumped to the PBA, Perasol served as a FedEx executive officer in Laguna and became the courier company’s head of operations for southern Luzon.
“I was so happy when I was doing that job,” said Perasol as his newfound career reignited his old passion of being a basketball fan who shouts his lungs out for Barangay Ginebra.
“I’ve said it time and again that I’m a basketball fan. I was a diehard fan of Ginebra during that time and when I was in college [in the early 90s] I was choosing between Shell, Alaska, and Ginebra. Those were my teams. We’ve all been there when after work, you’d get home immediately to watch the 5:30 games while having a meal.”
Perasol’s newfound career lasted for nearly six years but basketball eventually got him back, especially since that it was the sport that initially gave him the opportunity to work in an office and oversee courier operations.
Bert Lina, the owner of the Laguna Lakers, was the one that asked Perasol to take up the FedEx position and it was this desk job that ultimately became his ticket to the PBA.
Perasol replaced Bong Ramos as Air21’s coach in the 2005-06 season where he immediately led the Express to a third place finish in the Fiesta Cup.
“They (FedEx officials) remembered that they had an executive who was a coach then they decided to take me from my office spot and had me go back to coaching,” said Perasol.
The 48-year-old mentor is now deeply embedded in his head coaching role with the Fighting Maroons.
But his time working at the FedEx company in the early 2000s were also some of the most precious ones for Perasol.
“I was able to relax immensely during my days as an executive with FedEx. After you’re done with work, you can unwind in the weekend go to Tagaytay for example then go back to work on Monday,” said Perasol.
Coaching in the PBA was the total opposite.
“When I got to the PBA and when a season ends, you’d immediately brainstorm on who you will trade next and for nearly 10 years my brain never took a break from basketball,” he recalled.
“You’ll always thinking of how to make your team better, who you’re going to trade for, even if it’s the offseason it won’t escape your mind.”
Perasol said that having that kind of job took away the balance from his life since all he thought of was work.
“I hated that truly, your life wasn’t in balance and that wasn’t something I liked. This is what I always preach to may players that you’re more than a basketball player, more than a coach. You shouldn’t break your head if you don’t make it in basketball because you can make it somewhere else,” said Perasol.
“Don’t define yourself just as a basketball coach or a basketball player.”
Fortunately for Perasol, he rediscovered that balance when he started coaching college teams.
He said that unlike the PBA where an offseason lasts a couple of months, the UAAP offers him a bit of time for himself once the basketball tournament ends.
There are still items like daily practices and recruitment to take care of but the mental strain wasn’t as tough as when he was in the PBA.
And since the UAAP is still a school-based organization, he can still enjoy those summer and semester breaks.
“You can’t really put a price on peace of mind since we’re all getting older now,” said Perasol. “In the UAAP, let’s say there are five or six months of intense activities such as recruitment, preseason, season, but after that the kids will go back to studying and a bit of conditioning.”
Most importantly, it gave a time for Perasol to enjoy the company of his pets that include several birds, fish, and the 20 dogs who are perfectly at home with him and his wife in Laguna.