ARIEL Vanguardia is set to take over the coaching reins of the Manila Stars Frontrow when the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakandula Cup opens on June 12 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Sources said Vanguardia has started calling the shots for the team in practices and even in a tune-up against Davao Occidental.
Vanguardia will be taking over from Philip Cezar, who steered the team to a 20-5 record before falling to eventual champions San Juan Knights in three games in the North finals.
It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Vanguardia as he also served as an assistant to Louie Alas in the Manila Metrostars team in the MBA.
Vanguardia will be inheriting a solid young core led by Aris Dionisio and Chris Bitoon, alongside new young signings Jollo Go, Mark Dyke and Marvin Lee.
Ex-pros Ronnie Matias and Carlo Lastimosa will also be bolstering the young core.
Vanguardia is currently the alternate governor of the Blackwater Elite in the PBA, and for a time also served as head coach of the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the 2016-17 season.
He also led the Westports Malaysia Dragons to their only Asean Basketball League title in the 2015-16 season.