LEO Avenido said he was reluctant to accept the playing-coach role at Gamboa Coffee Mix, saying frankly, 'Hindi naman ako si Jawo.'
The PBA veteran, however, fared well in his debut in the playing-coach role, leading Gamboa Coffee Mix to a thrilling 85-84 win over Zark's Burger in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup opener on Thursday.
"Medyo ano siguro, medyo may hiya eh. Siyempre as a coach, sa totoo lang, ang hirap eh. Playing coach, 'di naman ako si Jawo eh," said Avenido of a role identified with Ginebra legend Robert Jaworski.
"Nagdalawang-isip nung una. Kinausap ko pa sila (management), sabi ko baka player na lang ako kung pwede. Sabi nila, 'Hindi sige, mag-coach ka tapos maglaro ka, bahala na,'" he added.
The former ABL MVP admitted the new role entails a lot of adjustments on his part, and and he saw the need to take matters into his own hands in the third period when the Coffee Lovers erased a 13-point deficit.
In the closing minutes, Avenido did what he does best, scoring the last four points including the pair of free throws that completed the come-from-behind victory.
The 38-year-old cager finished with 15 points, five rebounds, wo assists, and two steals in almost 17 minutes of action, but reserved his praise for his players who he prefer to call 'teammates.'
"Basta ang sabi ko lang sa mga teammates ko, ako lang 'yung sinabing coach dito, pero lahat kami coach kasi yung suggestions nila, open sa 'kin, mga plays na gusto nila mangyari, kasi sila naglalaro," he said.
"Ako 'pag naglaro ako, yun din ang gusto ko, kaya yun lang ang ina-apply ko sa kanila."