BARAKO Bull has decided to stick with coach Bong Ramos as head coach, just days after giving Serbian coach Rajko Toroman the pink slip and on the day the team is expected to hug the the spotlight in the PBA rookie draft at the Robinsons Place in Malate, Manila.
Barako Bull team manager Raffy Casyao said management felt Ramos is the best man to lead the team in the transition from Toroman, who he said was only hired by the Energy Cola under a short-term arrangement aimed primarily as an apprenticeship for Ramos.
“We chose to stick with the old system. We feel disrupting or adapting a new system with just two weeks to go before the opening might be challenging for us in terms of adjustment,” Casyao told Spin.ph.
“Bong Ramos is the best coach to carry out the plays shared to us by coach Rajko."
They Said It!
“We know coach Rajko won't have a hard time looking for a new team to coach. Kaya we gave him a few months of allowance. He knows one year lang talaga s'ya with us. So we gave him three months of leeway kaysa naman itali pa namin sya hanggang February. That would've been unfair." - Raffy Casyao, Barako Bulls team manager
At the same time, the amiable Barako official vehemently denied having considered ABL champion coach Leo Austria of San Miguel Beer for the position.
“No, it’s not true. He (Austria) was not considered. Hindi ko nga alam bakit may mga lumabas siyang statement. But that is his opinion,” said Casyao.
Ramos led Air21 Express (Barako Bull’s old franchise) to the semifinals of the Commissioner’s Cup with a ragtag team back in 2011. Ramos also steered the Aspac Texmaco of Indonesia to four straight titles in the National Basketball League.
“He is at par with the present pool of PBA coaches. Coach Bong is respected by our players,” added Casyao.
For his part, Ramos declared his readiness to lead the team which has undergone massive rebuilding the last five days and talked as if a couple of draft-day trades involving the team's fourth, fifth, and sixth picks overall are already as good as done.
The veteran bench tactician said he is excited with the prospect of having Dylan Ababou, Denok Miranda, Robert Labagala, Mark Isip and big man Magi Sison in the team. Labagala came in through the trade for Eman Monfort while the five others are supposed to arrive in trades for picks.
[For full story, see Barako to trade No. 4 pick to Ginebra for Ababou, fifth pick for Petron subs]
The holdovers are Danny Seigle, Dorian Pena, JC Intal, Elmer Espiritu, Mick Pennisi, Mark Macapagal, Keith Jensen, Ronjay Buenafe and Enrico Villanueva.
“We have a lot of veterans and experienced players in the team. It won’t be hard to put ourselves together on one page. Matatalino na ang mga yan,” said Ramos, who also coached the Brunei Barracudas for two seasons in the ABL.
“It’s just the continuity of our old system. Except for the newcomers, who we are still working on, wala kaming gaanong adjustments.
“Are we the darkhorse? Let’s just say we have the right (mix of) talent,” said Ramos, who was Toroman’s apprentice for 10 months.
[For full story, see story Rajko understudy Ramos keen to mirror Uichico success after Jacobs apprenticeship]
Meanwhile, Casyao bared that Toroman was aware that his tenure with Barako Bull is only for one year.
“Since he took over as our team consultant, he knew that the partnership will not last long,” said Casyao, adding Toroman’s contract as team consultant is until February 2014.
"We know coach Rajko won't have a hard time looking for a new team to coach. Kaya we gave him a few months of allowance. He knows one year lang talaga s'ya with us. So we gave him three months of leeway kaysa naman itali pa namin sya hanggang February. That would've been unfair."
A source told Spin.ph that Koy Banal is still set to move from Petron to join the Barako Bull coaching staff.