JUST moments after the end of yet another Meralco season of failed expectations, a top official assured gave Ryan Gregorio a vote of confidence, assuring the under-fire coach is "here for the long term."
Meralco board representative Ramon Segismundo made it clear there are no plans to replace Gregorio after the former PBA Coach of the Year awardee ended his fourth season at the helm of the Bolts without going anywhere near a first-ever championship for the franchise.
Instead, the current PBA chairman enjoined the Bolts fans to “keep their faith and support the embattled head coach.”
Under Gregorio, Meralco has placed no higher than third in its first four seasons in the pro league - the high-water mark coming in the Governors Cup last season with old hand Mario West as import.
The Bolts, however, have slipped back to mediocrity this season, missing the playoffs twice. They placed ninth in the Philippine Cup with a 5-10 win-loss record, seventh in the Commissioner’s Cup (6-6), before ending the Governors Cup with a pathetic 3-6 card.
“He’s (Gregorio) here for the long term, so he just got to hang in there, unless told otherwise,” Segismundo told Spin.ph, moments after Meralco ended the season with a 123-95 hammering of woeful GlobalPort on Saturday at Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.
Segismundo said management in fact intends to sit down with Gregorio soon to chart the team’s direction for next season, which kicks off on October 19.
“We are going to have to huddle with coach Ryan soon. We know he’s a champion coach, especially during his time with Purefoods,” said Segismundo. “Although we know that his past four years with us are full of lessons, we’ll just have to huddle with him.”
But this early, Segismundo already hinted that the team intends to retool its lineup for next season, pointing specifically to the point guard position where oft-injured Mike Cortez needs help as well as in the frontline where he said the Bolts need a legitimate inside threat.
“We need another point guard to supplement Mike Cortez and a big center, but definitely, the direction is clear for the team,” Segismundo said.