NEARLY three decades since he won a gold medal as a player in the 1991 Southeast Asian Games, Teodorico 'Boyet' Fernandez gets to serve the flag and country anew, this time as a Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to serve the country again, this time in a coaching capacity," the San Beda mentor said in a chat with SPIN.ph.
It's a tremendous honor for the Colegio de San Agustin product, who was picked seventh in the 1993 PBA Draft and had a long career as a pro followed by a successful coaching career studded with championships in the PBA, D-League, and NCAA.
At Gilas, Fernandez, who's a proven stickler for details, will be working with minds like SBP program director Tab Baldwin, former national team coach Jong Uichico, and TNT assistant coach Alton Lister for the November window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.
Fernandez, 49, has proven himself as a winner in every team he worked in.
He won two rings back in his playing days with Alaska and Purefoods, and also steered Sta. Lucia to its last crown in the 2008 PBA Philippine Cup before the franchise folded in 2010.
Although his first foray into the collegiate level was a forgettable winless run in University of the Philippines, he soon struck gold, capturing four NCAA championships between his two stints with the Red Lions.
Add to that the eight titles he took home in the PBA D-League with NLEX and Cignal HD and Fernandez certainly has a stake in the argument among the best coaches in the amateurs today.
That's why it's hard to believe that the Gilas call-up came just now.
But if there's something Fernandez learned in his past run with Team Philippines, it's that its not really about whose star shines the brightest.
After all, he was an able backup to Johnny Abarrientos back in 1991 and played that role again as a reserve for the Philippine team in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.
"All I want is to be a positive contributor for this team," said Fernandez, who will be with his San Beda players Calvin Oftana and Kemark Carino in this Gilas campaign.