KIA continues its coaching experiment that it hopes to result in a win this time as it takes on NLEX on Saturday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Picanto have tasked consultant Joe Lipa to take on a more active role, evidenced in their conference opener last Wednesday against Phoenix when the veteran mentor was on the bench after usually being behind it in previous conferences.
Lipa, though, played down his role that he will continue to play as the Picanto face the Road Warriors at 3 p.m.
“Well, Chris Gavina is still the deputy coach, Manny Pacquiao is still the head coach, I'm just there to assist lang,” Lipa said.
“Well, I've been out for like fifteen years, I'm also adjusting,” added the former national coach who last called the shots for a PBA team in 1994 with Shell, although he last coached officially in 2007 when he handled alma mater University of the Philippines in the UAAP.
So it’s understandable to sense the reluctance in him taking on a more active role again after a decade of mostly being behind the scenes.
“Well I think I got to do whatever management thinks is good for the team,” Lipa said.
The Picanto, as a unit, is adjusting to the change as well as to a few other hiccups in the preseason that translated into a 118-105 loss to the Fuel Masters on opening night.
“We have lot of gaps that we have to fill,” Gavina said. “You know, coach Joe back at the helm, we really were in a situation where we didn't get to have a tune-up game and kind of fine-tune what we need to fix, and we're in in-season mode trying to see what needs to be done.”
The Road Warriors, on the other hand, picked up from a strong finish to a forgettable Commissioner’s Cup with a 112-104 win over Alaska also last Wednesday.
The four teams that saw action last Wednesday are just exchanging opponents as the Fuel Masters tangle with the Aces in the second game at 5:15 p.m.