PBA: Jong Uichico admits nerves over interim head coach role

PBA: Jong Uichico admits nerves over interim head coach role

/ 10:10 PM March 14, 2024

NLEX Road Warriors

Coach Jong Uichico and NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA Philippine Cup. –PBA IMAGES

Jong Uichico admitted that there were nerves he had not experienced since his days steering teams to championships after being tapped to pinch-hit for injured coach Frankie Lim in NLEX’s win over Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The lead assistant was tasked to call the shots for the Road Warriors in handing the Bossing their first defeat, 103-97, at Philsports Arena in Pasig City after Lim suffered a hand injury during practice.

“It is difficult, yes,” Uichico said. “It’s been a long time since I felt this way going to the game. All coaches, head coaches, feel something on the way to the game, before the game, especially when I learned about my role this morning. So my preparation as [interim coach] was rushed.”

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Uichico, however, is glad to have the help of fellow coaches on the staff, namely Borgie Hermida, Melo Lim and Adonis Tierra, among others, in making sure NLEX secure its fourth win in five games in the All-Filipino tourney.

“Good thing we have able and capable assistant coaches in charge of the offense, in charge of the defense because I don’t know all the plays. I just know what Coach Frankie’s gameplan was and we just followed it on both ends of the floor.

“I just managed the game by timeouts and talk to the players on what they’re doing wrong or not,” he added.

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NLEX tapped Uichico last December to become Lim’s chief lieutenant, marking his return to the PBA sidelines.

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Uichico is tied with Chot Reyes and Leo Austria for fourth all-time with nine championships which he won with San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and TNT.

The Road Warriors won, with Robert Bolick sealing the deal by hitting two dagger shots from three-point country.

Bolick, however, said he received a tongue-lashing from Uichico for one of his miscues during the game and later apologized when the two shook hands at the final buzzer.

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“I just want to keep him alert in certain situations of the game, especially during the end game,” said Uichico of Bolick, who finished with 21 points.

TAGS: Jong Uichico, NLEX Road Warriors

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