FORMER PBA coach Bong Ramos is back in his ‘second home.’
Ramos has renewed his ties with ASPAC ballclub in the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL) after serving the past two seasons as one of the deputy coaches at Blackwater.
The 56-year-old mentor inked a three-year contract with the Jakarta-based ballclub, the first two of which is guaranteed and the third and final year an open option.
Ramos, a star player for the Mapua Cardinals in the early 80s and the defunct Philippine Amateur Basketball League, has built a good reputation as coach in Jakarta, especially in the IBL where he was once named as Coach of the Year for steering ASPAC to two championships in early 2000.
A deadly-shooter during his heydays, Ramos said he couldn’t say no to the ASPAC team owners when the opportunity to handle the team was offered to him again.
“Mababait kasi yung mga boss ko doon kaya tinanggap ko ulit yung offer,” he told SPIN.ph after a quick trip back to Manila from Jakarta last week. “Very supportive sila, kahit ano ang sabihin ko binibigay nila sa akin.”
But as he restarts his coaching career in the IBL, Ramos admitted he’ll certainly miss his family and of course, the Blackwater organization headed by the brother tandem of Dioceldo and Siliman Sy.
Ramos, who had stints as coach of FedEx, Air21, and Barako Bull in the PBA, is very proud of what the Elite have accomplished this season, especially after seeing the team advanced to the playoffs of the PBA Governors Cup before he left the country again.
He was actually bound for Indonesia as early as the eliminations of the season-ending meet, but was prevailed upon by management and fellow coaches when the team scored its breakthrough win over Phoenix after starting its campaign with three straight losses.
“Dapat paalis na ako nun. Kaso after manalo ng team, sabi nila sa akin stay ka pa ng one game,” he recalled.
That one game was extended to two more as Blackwater followed it up with victories over NLEX and Alaska to register the first ever three-game winning streak in the three-year PBA history of the franchise.
“So bago ako umalis for Jakarta, nag-three game winning streak yung team,” he noted. “Magandang pabaon sa akin, and at the same time, magandang memory din with the team.”
Ramos, who once served as coach of the Indonesia national team, stayed in Jakarta for three weeks to see the team and prepare it for the coming season.
He then returned to the country for a short break to fix some of his working papers, and at the same time, to see Blackwater and make his formal goodbye to the franchise.
“Siyempre I wished them good luck sa playoffs na sana makapasok yung team sa semis,” he said. “Also, I got to say thank you to Boss Dio (Sy) and sir Siliman. Sobrang bait nila sa akin. Pinayagan nila akong pumunta na sa Indonesia kahit ongoing pa yung (PBA) season. Kaya sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa kanila.”