Vanguardia looking to turn Bossing fortunes around
Ariel Vanguardia is no stranger to the kind of ballclub he is taking over in the Philippine Basketball Association. And neither does he have pretensions that steering Blackwater won’t be a rocky resumption to his coaching career.
Vanguardia will assume coaching duties of the squad he represented in the PBA board as an alternate governor and he has seen the depths to which the Bossing have sunk.
A league record 19 straight losses, including a 0-11 record in the recent Philippine Cup, where Blackwater lost by an average margin of 16.2 points per game and finished with single digits of its winning opponent just twice.
On a positive note, he doesn’t really need to do much to improve the squad. He just needs one win in the upcoming Governors’ Cup.
But the comebacking tactician wants to do more for a squad that seems content with just getting its name plastered in the news.
“The build-up [will be about forming] a more balanced fighting team,” he told the Inquirer on Friday.
“[Then] we start with being competitive,” he added. “Eventually, the winning mentality will be developed and hopefully, we’d pull enough Ws to make it to the playoffs.“
Lofty aspirations for a team that flamed put in last season’s Philippine Cup and then hoped to do better this season by, well, trading away its best player.
Fortunately, Vanguardia will have a better team than the one his predecessor, Nash Racela, had to work with. Blackwater acquired Rashawn McCarthy and Barkley Eboña through midseason deals, adding both quality players to holdovers Baser Amer, Kelly Nabong and KG Canaleta.
And with the PBA finally holding an import conference in the pandemic era, Blackwater will have some sort of an equalizer in Jaylen Bond, a 6-foot-6 American forward who arrived on Monday.
“Bond fills up our need for a dominant big man on both ends,” the Blackwater coach said, adding that he hopes his import would turn out to be more than just a presence in the middle for Blackwater and play a vital role in the bid to wring the past out of the team’s quarters.
“He is also a high-character guy [who] will blend well with the culture we are building,” Vanguardia said.
The journey will be a bumpy one, for sure, especially for a team that’s looking for an identity. But Vanguardia can at least duck under the cover of shooting for progress, rather than perfection.
“Our motto this time is to improve one percent everyday as a team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Meralco’s three-a-side crew emerged triumphant in the second leg of the PBA’s inaugural 3×3 tournament.
Bridesmaids in the opening leg, the Bolts turned in a vengeful campaign all the way to the finalé, taking down fancied Platinum Karaoke, 21-16, in the you-or-me battle for the crown and pocketed P100,000 Thursday night at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Brilliant throughout the first two legs, Tonino Gonzaga put up seven points to pace Meralco. Joseph Sedurifa added six more while Dexter Maiquez and Alfred Batino chipped in five and three, respectively.
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