BIÑAN - Jong Uichico had no difficulty adjusting to the MPBL game as he guided the Bataan Risers to a comfortable 75-62 triumph over the Biñan City-Krah Heroes on Monday night at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
A nine-time PBA champion coach, Uichico relied on ball movement and team play to get scoring from former collegiate standouts Joe Presbitero from San Beda and Anton Asistio from Ateneo and returning guard James Castro.
Presbitero tallied 16 points on top of seven rebounds while Castro, who played for Bataan, then owned by BaiShipping, added 14 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Assistio, a member of back-to-back champions Ateneo Blue Eagles under coach Tab Baldwin, added 13, including three triples.
Uichico, who won championships as coach of San Miguel, Ginebra and TNT, last handled a team in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games when he led the Gilas cadets to the gold medal.
“This is something new. There’s not much teaching to do as you have no control of what’s happening at times. It’s a free-flowing game,” said Uichico. “But I have to adjust. I need to rely on team play, ball movement, hoping we could go through from there as we still don’t have go-to guys in the team.”
Uichico’s auspicious debut with the Risers overshadowed another winning debut by coach in Keith Martin of the Pasay Voyagers.
A longtime assistant of Aldrin Morante and Chito Victolero, Martin led the Pasay Voyagers to a thrilling 70-68 squeaker of the Navotas Clutch-Unipak.
Ron Lastimosa knocked in 14 points, including the go-ahead three-point basket in the 1:14 mark of the final quarter that put the Voyagers on top, 69-67.