JRU guard Gio Lasquety, 23, becomes youngest D-League coach as Meneses steps aside
JRU head coach Vergel Meneses says he has always been impressed by Gio Lasquety's 'high basketall IQ.' Dante Peralta

GIO Lasquety is set to become the youngest head coach in the PBA D-League as he’s set to handle Jose Rizal University in the upcoming Aspirants Cup in January.

Longtime Heavy Bombers head coach Vergel Meneses revealed that the 23-year-old combo guard will be calling the shots for the Heavy Bombers, one of seven NCAA teams fielding in a team in the tournament.

Meneses bared that he’ll be taking on the role as the team manager.

“Kung titignan niyo, siya na yung nakalagay na head coach nung nagpasa kami ng lineup sa D-League,” said Meneses. 

“Even during the NCAA Season kasama na namin 'yan when we’re preparing our game plan sa loob ng coach’s room, every game, kasama namin siya nagpe-prepare,” he added.

During the Filoil tournament, the PBA legend-turned-coach bared that he was already grooming Lasquety to become a coach, even naming him as a playing-assistant in his senior year at JRU.

Lasquety went on to become Meneses’ extension on the court as a do-it-all veteran guard, leading the Heavy Bombers to a semifinal finish after missing out on the Final Four in Season 92.

The outspoken head coach was left in awe by Lasquety’s high basketball IQ – leading him to believe that Lasquety’s true career path leads to a coaching role.

“Magaling magbasa yung bata. Alam niya yung mga nangyayari sa loob ng court at kung ano gagawin ng kalaban,” Meneses said. “Lagi niyang sinasabi, ‘Coach, ganito gagawin nito, ganito lang ginagawa niya,’ so marunong talaga.”

The team will be mainly composed of the Heavy Bombers’ roster from NCAA Season 93, led by this season’s revelation in Jed Mendoza. It is not clear if Lasquety will also suit up for the Bombers.

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