JEFFREY Cariaso gets his baptism of fire as Barangay Ginebra’s new head coach when the Gin Kings open their PBA Governors Cup campaign against GlobalPort on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cariaso has assumed the coaching post just two weeks ago, his first order of business installing the triangle offense that had brought him a lot of success as a player for Alaska and as an assistant of top triangle offense proponent Tim Cone at San Mig.
Now he hopes to have the same success with the triangle as he plunges into his first head-coaching job, never mind if Ginebra had to cram for two weeks to learn the basics of an offense that has so many options.
For now, the former Rookie of the Year said Ginebra will be sticking to the basics of the triangle in the 8 p.m. game against a GlobalPort team that is out to atone ror a 1-8 (win-loss) campaign in its first conference under coach Pido Jarencio.
“Just polishing, still a lot we haven’t put in, but with the effort (in practice), I’m very happy. That’s considering we haven’t put everything in yet,” Cariaso said.
The 41-year-old Cariaso is coming off a PBA championship with the Mixers last week where they beat Talk ‘N Text, 3-1 in the Finals series to rule the Commissioner’s Cup.
Despite the intricacies of the triangle, Cariaso said he’s impressed with the Ginebra veterans led by Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand who have set a good example by embracing the system.
“I’m really impressed with the veterans. They are making a point to learn. And even if they are veterans, they are willing to learn and are setting a good example. That’s all I can ask from them,” he added.
Ginebra will be reinforced by straight-out-of-college import Zaccheus Mason, who is coming off a stint with the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga a few months ago.
A noted rebounder and post threat, Mason scored 22 points in Ginebra’s 83-89 loss to San Miguel Beer in their tune-up game last week.
The 6-4 Mason will have his first test against Globalport’s frontline of Jay Washington, Yousef Taha, Jewel Ponferrada and Eric Menk, who is back in harness after missing the entire Commissioner’s Cup due to hamstring injury.
Globalport will be reinforced by Leroy Hickerson, who is now in his third PBA tour of duty after stints with Air21 and Barako Bull where he posted PBA career averages of 28.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 13 games.