CEBU CITY - The University of San Carlos Warriors coaching rigodon is over after school management and team brass tapped one of the most successful high school coaches in Cebu to be their new head coach — Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu’s Rommel Rasmo.
The Warriors have been in limbo after hoisting the Cesafi men’s basketball title — their first in 57 years — last season. Not only did they lose the league MVP, Shooster Olago, and key guys Charles Pepito and Nico Magat, but they also lost head coach Britt Reroma who opted not to renew his contract with the school.
Interim head coach Bong Abad begged off from taking the job as well, forcing USC athletic director Fr. Adriano Ocariza to look for a replacement. But they quickly found one in Rasmo, the top honcho of the three-time defending Cesafi juniors champions, Magis Eagles.
“It was a collective decision, one that was made by me and other stakeholders of the basketball team. We feel that we made the right choice,” said Ocariza Tuesday.
Rasmo, in an exclusive talk with SPIN.ph, does not expect a smooth transition to the college game but vowed to give his all to help the Warriors keep their lofty perch.
“It won’t be easy but like I always say, everything is a process,” said the Negros native who has helped build the Magis Eagles from a fledgling program into one of the most feared in the nation today.
In his first practice with the Warriors, Rasmo said it's better if he observed first and familiarize himself with the players. He will gradually introduce his system to the team with the help of USC’s current crop of assistants led by Abad, former pro Teroy Albarillo, Ron Vivar and Francis Auquico, who Rasmo will be bringing along with him from the Magis Eagles.
It also helps that several of USC’s players have already played under Rasmo, namely guard Gio Laguyo, forwards Mavii Suarez and Lucky Ecarma, and big man AD Gaviola. Yet even with such familiarity, Rasmo says the pressure to match last season's feat will always be there but it will not deter his drive to excel.
“Of course, USC is the defending champions and people expect them to win. But even if this wasn’t USC, even if this was some other team, people can expect me to go all out,” said Rasmo.