HE’S already a champion coach in the PBA, yet he feels like a rookie all over again as he makes his return to the pros.
Boyet Fernandez knows it will take a while getting a feel of the game considering how the PBA landscape has changed as he takes over when the Road Warriors target the early lead in the Philippine Cup on Friday against Talk ‘N Text at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a nice feeling coming back,” the 43-year-old coach told Spin.ph on the eve his return. “Ang tagal kong nawala sa PBA, so syempre nag-iba na rin ang sitwasyon ngayon, so I have to feel my way around.”
Fernandez, who led defunct Sta. Lucia to its only title in the 2007 All-Filipino conference and last coached in the pros in 2010, is coming off a successful amateur coaching stint capped by the title conquest with San Beda in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
“Marami na ring rules ang nabago sa PBA,” he said. “Tingnan ko kung ano ang dapat ko pang matutunan at dapat ko pang i-adjust. Parang nag-aaral ulit ako.”
“I really have to refresh my mind and my basketball knowledge about the PBA. Medyo mahirap, pero I have capable coaches naman who are helping me," he said, referring to a coaching staff that includes assistant Adonis Tierra.
Together, they hope to lead the Road Warriors to a fitting follow-up to their come-from-behind 101-96 victory over GlobalPort last Tuesday.
Standing in their way is sister team Talk 'N Text, which will try to break into the win column after suffering a 101-81 defeat at the hands of Barangay Ginebra in the season opener last Sunday.
Tipoff is at 4:15 p.m. in a match that will be succeeded by the 7 o’clock game between winless squads Rain or Shine and Blackwater.
Fernandez will once again count on a squad bannered by veterans Asi Taulava, who pumped in 21 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter of their stunning win over the Batang Pier, as well as Rico Villanueva.
“Maganda ang pag-welcome sa akin ng players, especially si Asi tsaka si Enrico,” Fernandez said. “Sila talaga yung crucial, kasi kailangan ko talaga ng suporta nila kasi beterano sila.”