THE man Larry Albano succeeded as Letran coach believes his choice may be in the best interest of the team as it looks forward of contending again for the NCAA men’s basketball championship next season.
“He was chosen by the Letran priests as head coach, so most deserving siya among others,” was the curt reply of former Knights coach Louie Alas when asked by Spin.ph about the appointment of Albano as his successor.
Albano, the architect of the Knights’ three straight championships in 1982-84 behind a team backstopped by Avelino `Samboy’ Lim, has yet been officially announced by Letran as its next coach although people privy to the negotiations already confirmed his impending takeover of the team that came one win short of winning the title last season.
The veteran coach was reportedly picked by Letran management from among the short list of possible replacement for Alas, whose contract expired last December 31.
Alas stepped down from his post after the Knights lost the decisive Game 3 of their Finals series with three-time champion San Beda Red Lions last season.
In his more than a decade of coaching the Intramuros-based school, Alas won three championships with Letran in 1998, 2003, and 2005.
Now an assistant coach with Alaska, Alas has been vocal before about his desire to have his assistant Tino Pinat, become the next coach of the team.
Albano, who for many years now is based in the U.S., reportedly had to present his program to Letran hierarchy via internet software Skype when he was interviewed for the job.
Since parting ways with Letran in 1986, Albano has been away from basketball, although he briefly came back in the country in 1997 when he coached a Fil-Am based team in Chicago during the PBL VisMin Cup.
Incoming Letran assistant coach Ronjay Enrile however, is optimistic Albano has not lost his coaching flair despite being away in the country for so many years.
“Tingin ko malaki pa rin ang maibibigay ni coach Larry, if ever na totoo `yung report (about his appointment),” said Enrile “Hindi naman nawawala sa mga coach yung technique, kailangan lang mag-double-up sa pag-review ng mga bagong style at scientific coaching ngayon.”
“Pero sa totoo lang, di ko pa kilala si coach Larry ng personal,” admitted Enrile, who was once Alas’ top gunner at Letran during their championship years early in 2000.
“Hindi ko rin alam yung laro nila Samboy Lim noon. Saka hindi pa rin ako umaasa kasi wala pang announcement `yung mga pari eh,” said Enrile adding he only heard about his appointment from online news stories.
Enrile and another coaching candidate Wilmon Yu, will play assistant to Albano during the 89th season of the NCAA to be hosted by College of Saint Benilde.