HOPING for a happy and successful comeback, Hapee Toothpaste named former PBA star Ronnie Magsanoc as head coach for the coming PBA D-League.
“We’re happy that Mr. Magsanoc has accepted the challenge to handle the team. Being one of the best minds in amateur basketball, we are proud to have him in the team,” said team owner Dr. Cecilio Pedro.
With his vast coaching experience in the pro league, being a longtime assistant of Ryan Gregorio starting with Purefoods (now San Mig Super Coffee) before moving to Meralco, Magsanoc is expected to lead Hapee to another successful run after a five-year hiatus in the amateur league.
Hapee is taking the franchise of NLEX which has since moved up to the PBA after winning six of seven D-League championships the past three years.
Hapee was one of the pillars during the glory days of the now-defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL) in the 90s. In all, it won three PBL titles, the last was during the 2004 conference with Ateneo stars, led by Larry Fonacier, as the core of the team.
Backstopped by prolific import Tony Harris, Hapee also ruled the 1996 FIBA Asian Champions Cup – its biggest win so far.
Hapee team manager Bernard Yang said negotiations to get the services of Magsanoc was smooth and easy.
“Walang problema, mabait at desente kausap,” said Yang.
Coaching Hapee meant Magsanoc reuniting with his former players at San Beda, which he guided to the NCAA championship two years ago – the first and only time he handled the team as head coach.
Aside from San Beda players like Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun, Art dela Cruz, Ryussei Koga, JP Mendoza, and Michole Sorela, the team according to Pedro will reinforced by former SBC star Garvo Laneta and Ateneo player Kirk Long.
Magsanoc, who is also one of the assistant coaches of Bo Perasol at Ateneo, is hoping to beef up his team when the league holds it rookie draft where he's eyeing several role players.
Pedro and Magsanoc believe the dynasty established by NLEX and the achievements of Hapee in the PBL will serve as their inspiration to make good in their first foray in the D-League.