QUESTIONS continued to swirl over the massive shake-up of the Barako Bull front office and staff that led to the departure not only of head coach Siot Tanquingcen but also of longtime team manager Raffy Casyao and one of the sons of owner George Chua.
Just days after Tanquingcen was replaced by former assistant Koy Banal on the eve of the start of the season, the PBA ballclub announced that Casyao has been replaced by former University of Santo Tomas player Reymark Rodriguez as team manager.
Casyao is one of the most trusted men of George Chua who has been with the team since its Red Bull days.
Aside from that, Spin.ph has learned that three more top officials of a team that has long faced accusations of being a 'farm team' of the ballclubs under the San Miguel Beer umbrella have also been relieved.
They include George Chua's son Paul, who used to be part of the team operations. Also gone are alternate governor Eric Noora as well as assistant team manager Jay Llanos Dee.
It was not yet known who will replace the three in the Barako Bull front office.
Asked about the changes, the newly appointed Rodriguez gave no direct answers, saying he has just barely warmed his seat and has yet to get a lowdown on the shake-up.
“Kakaupo ko lang kasi kaya hindi ko pa kabisado ang mga galaw sa team. May ibang development na hindi pa ako privy,” said the soft-spoken Rodriguez, a former teammate of Ginebra alternate governor Alfrancis Chua and current GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio.
“Please try to understand that I am still settling down,” he added.
Rodriguez also politely declined to comment when asked on who appointed him, but admitted he is not personally acquianted with owner George Chua.
“Hindi ko siya kilala eh,” he said.
Meanwhile, Spin.ph has also learned that Barako Bull is leaving the state-of-the-art Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong and is set to transfer to Green Meadows Gym in Libis, the former practice facility of Ginebra.
“Yes, sa Green Meadows na kami lilipat pero tinatapos pa 'yung contract (sa Hoops Center) saka hinihintay pa yung availability ng Green Meadows,” said Rodriguez.
On paper, George Chua is still the majority owner of the team, which is co-owned by the Linaheim Group of Companies of businessman/sportsman Bert Lina who bought a stake in the company in 2011.
The two teams actually swapped teams during the deal, with Lina taking over the renamed Air21 franchise that was sold last season to NLEX.
From the management staff of Barako Bull last season, the only holdovers are longtime team doctor John Lim, Chua's son Michael as head of basketball operations and governor Manny Alvarez.