AS he reaches the tailend of a colorful 14-year career in the PBA, two-time MVP Willie Miller said he is looking to play two more years of basketball before setting his sights on a possible coaching career.
The 38-year-old many-time All Star is hoping that by the time he finally calls time on his basketball career, former Letran teammate and now Knights coach Aldin Ayo will welcome him to be part of his staff.
The fact that Miller is playing this season for ABL team Pilipinas Aguilas, which is supported by Letran chief backer Manny Pacquiao, should make the transition to the Letran coaching staff easier.
"Gusto ko ring mag-coach. Gusto kong ma-i-pass on 'yung natutunan, 'yung mga magagandang natutunan ko, na-experience ko, gusto kong ma-experience din ng mga bata," said Miller.
"Pwede siguro akong maging part ng coaching staff ng Letran (lalo ngayon player ako ni Manny), kasama ko naman, kakampi ko dati si Aldin, naging kakampi ko si Aldin sa Letran," he added.
For now, Miller said he is playing out his final years to give back to the fans.
"Pero wala pa sa isip ko ang coaching talaga sa ngayon. Gusto ko munang magbasketball, last hurrah. Kasi gusto ko pag nag-coaching staff ako, gusto ko focused ako, para makapagturo ako ng maayos," he added.
Currently signed up by the Pacquiao Powervit Philippine Aguilas in the ABL, Miller will also don the colors of FEU-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation team in the Marikina-based DeLeague.
For Miller, the DeLeague is about returning to his roots.
"Sa ganito naman ako nagsimula eh. Home and away sa ABL, gaya nung araw nung lumalaro pa ko sa Nueva Ecija Patriots sa MBA saka sa Letran," said Miller after emerging from the practice of the FEU-NRMF squad at the Camp Aguinaldo Gym.
"Tapos yung paglalaro ko naman sa liga sa Marikina, mas malapit ako sa tao. Parang naaalala ko nung naglalaro pa ko sa mga barangay sa Olongapo," he added with a smile. "Mas malapit ka sa tao, mas nakakalapit sila sa yo!"
Asked if he is will feel the fatigue of playing and practicing with two teams for the next five months, Miller shook his head.
"Maganda nga kasi continuous pa rin ang basketball. Saka hindi naman ako napapagod. Kasi after practice ko sa Aguilas, kinakabukasan magpapakita ako sa FEU-NRMF, tapos pag-uwi ko sa bahay, naglalaro pa rin kami ng basketball ng mga kabigan ko," he said.
"Hindi ka naman mapapagod sa bagay na mahal at gusto mo, di ba?"
Good friend and usual 'ligang labas' teammate Leo Avenido is confident that Miller can make a good coach one day.
"Mahusay si Willie mag-motivate ng kakampi, saka sa laro pa lang makikita mo na hindi siya selfish. Yung mga batang players nga gina-guide niya eh. Makikita mo sa laro o sa bench, hindi siya madamot," said Avenido, a teammate of Miller with 2014 DLeague champion Siargao Legends.
Even Legends team owner Nestor Luego is grateful to have been given the chance to handle the former PBA star.
"Malaking bagay yung Miller sa amin, kasi siya ang nag-guide sa mga batang guards namin. Maraming natutunan yung mga bata namin kasabay siya sa court," said Luego.
Luego's team is not competing in the DeLeague this season, and FEU-NRMF team owner and basketball patron Nino Reyes is looking to fill the gap with Miller on his side.
"I have high regards for Willie's talent as a player, but more importantly, I would want to see him take our young players under his wings," said Reyes, who handles the careers of young PBA players like Terrence Romeo and Ping Exciminiano.
The FEU-NRMF boss also hopes future PBA draft talents like Taylor Statham and James White will be able to learn from one of the PBA's 40 Greatest Players.
"Willie can help us in that aspect. He is a PBA legend and one of the 40 Greatest Players, so having him train and guide the youngsters will be very beneficial for our players," he said.
See video of interview with Miller: