PAMPANGA governor Dennis Pineda is taking time to coach the Delta team in the NBL despite his busy schedule.
Pineda is the head coach of the Pampanga Delta in the NBL’s Season 3 campaign. And he is no figurehead in the team that bears his nickname. The Pampanga governor and team owner rarely missed a game this season – not even road matches.
Even in the NBL Finals, Pineda has been present in all the matches and undergoes swab testing before joining the team during games.
Pampanga Delta team manager Alan Trinidad said coaching is a stress reliever in the daily grind of Pineda, especially at this time when he's overseeing the province's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Si Gov kasi, nag-eenjoy siya, gusto rin niyang tulungan ‘yung mga bata. Nakikita niya na may mali pero sinasabi lang niya, bawiin niyo at improve niyo ang depensa niyo," Trinidad said. "Simple lang siya. Kapag nga nagagalit ako, [sinasabi niya], 'Pabayaan mo na.'"
Pineda knows his basketball.
Under his leadership, the province has come up with a grassroots basketball program that led to the discoveries of talents from Pampanga such as Arwind Santos, Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang.
Trinidad said that while Pineda is the head coach, he still consults with his staff during the game.
“Nagtatanong naman siya, 'Anong palagay mo? Palitan natin si ganito, sino ipapasok?' ‘Yung nakikita niya, sinasabi niya,” said Trinidad.
Under Pineda’s tutelage, the Delta have taken a 2-1 series lead over La Union and moved one victory away from capturing the NBL title for the first time since the team joined the regional league last season.
Trinidad said Pineda’s presence has inspired the team.
“Ang laki ng problema niya. Iniingatan niya ang COVID dito. Gusto niya zero. Ganun ka-focused si Gov. Ang maitutulong lang niya ‘yung makaiwas sa COVID. Nakita mo naman kami, nagpapa-test kami,” said Trinidad.
"Kaya natutuwa kami kasi ‘yan lang ‘yung way niya para mawala ‘yung stress niya."