Jong Uichico makes brief return to high school basketball as coach of NBTC All Star North Team
Less than five months after his last stint in the PBA, Jong Uichico is coaching again, this time at the high school level for a one-game stint. Reuben Terrado

JONG Uichico is back on the floor coaching Ildefonso and Sotto.

Only this time, it wasn’t the two-time PBA Most Valuable Player or the big man with a feathery touch from the outside.

He was guiding Dave and Kai, sons of former PBA players he used to coach during his stint with San Miguel and Ginebra.

The former PBA champion coach is set to return to high school basketball for just a few days after agreeing to become the mentor for the North team in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) All-Star Game set March 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Uichico will be up against his former Talk ‘N Text assistant Josh Reyes, who will handle the South All-Stars.

A winner of nine PBA titles with three teams, Uichico started as head coach of the La Salle-Zobel high school basketball team during the late 80s and 90s after his playing career ended early.

“I coached high school when I started,” said Uichico, who coached the likes of now-PBA coaches Jason Webb, Luigi Trillo, and Juno Sauler during his high school days. “It’s going to be reminiscing back. It’s going to be fun.”

Uichico admits he has no idea about his players, who he met for the very first time during their one and only practice session on Monday.

Uichico refused to give specific takes on his players in the North stars including those familiar names in Sotto and Ildefonso since he still has no idea how they play.

“They are big and I’m sure, nandito sila sa All-Star so talent is already given. It’s how they play and make that talent into a team concept. Josh told me that Tibayan is good but I don’t know who he is,” said Uichico, hoping to give the kids all the help he can provide in the short time that they will be together.

“It’s going to be good to impart the things that you have learned all these years to the high school kids. Hopefully, they learn the right way of playing and not just playing, and all of a sudden, having a hard time when they get to college or in the PBA,” Uichico said.

One of the things that Uichico wants to be impart to the high school players that will play in the All-Star game is have a good attitude towards fellow players, teammates, and coaches, which improves their chances of making it to the higher level of basketball including the PBA.

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“Have a good attitude for a start. Kasi siyempre, when you are good already in high school, you might be lost. So have a good attitude. The talent or non-talent, given na ‘yun but your chances of going a long way are bigger when you have a good attitude,” said Uichico.

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