Richard del Rosario will look to steer Barangay Ginebra to another victory in his own way, something Ronnie Magsanoc may try as well for Meralco on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The two assistant coaches thrust into caretaker roles will see their teams face separate opponents at Smart Araneta Coliseum as the season-opening conference begins another set of five straight doubleheaders lasting to the weekend.
Ginebra shoots for a share of the lead with idle San Miguel Beer at 6-1 when it plays Terrafirma at 6 p.m., while Meralco looks to end a skid of two straight losses and pick up a second win in its last five starts against Rain or Shine in the first game at 3 p.m.
Del Rosario encountered little trouble filling in the shoes of Tim Cone, who is in the United States to take part as a member of the Miami Heat’s coaching staff in the National Basketball Association Summer League, as evidenced by a 105-89 drubbing by the Gin Kings of Converge last week.
A longtime deputy of Cone dating back to the Grand Slam run of San Mig Super Coffee in 2014, Del Rosario said he’s trying to hold the fort by being himself until the winningest mentor in PBA history returns in time for the tail end of the eliminations.
“I learned a lot from Coach Tim through the years,” Del Rosario said. “But he told me that I can’t pretend or try to be like him because I would just be a poor copy. The best way of coaching the team is to be like myself.”
Magsanoc may heed that advice as he begins calling the shots for the Bolts in the absence of coach Norman Black, who is also in the States for personal reasons.
Black is on an indefinite leave to tend to his ailing mother, who he said is in critical condition. Meralco had slipped to a 3-3 record in the eliminations before Black handed the keys to Magsanoc.
Unlike Del Rosario, Magsanoc will have plenty of work to do in order for the Bolts to get back on the winning track.
The PBA legend had head coaching duties in the past, albeit in the amateurs as champion both for San Beda in the National Collegiate Athletic Association back in 2012 and for Hapee in the PBA D-League three years later.
Both Ginebra and Meralco face teams almost sharing the cellar, with Rain or Shine having lost five in a row after opening the season with an escape act over Converge and Terrafirma winless in six outings. INQ