DESPITE the tumultuous ending to its PBA Philippine Cup campaign, GlobalPort management plans to stick it out for the time being with interim coach Eric Gonzales as the Batang Pier prepare for the midseason Commissioner’s Cup.
Basketball operations head BJ Manalo believed Gonzales deserves a shot at running the show for the team even though he only handled the Batang Pier in the last three games of the season-opening conference after replacing Pido Jarencio.
“Satisfied naman kami kay coach Eric,” said Manalo following the team’s practice on Wednesday at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo de Manila campus.
“For now, status quo kami sa head coach because we also want to give coach Eric a fair opportunity to handle the team.”
Following its busy off-season buildup that included acquiring top rookie pick Fil-Am Stanley Pringle, GlobalPort was tipped by many as probably darkhorse in the All-Filipino tournament.
But after a roller-coaster ride, management surprised a lot of people when it opted to replace Jarencio with Gonzales with only two games remaining in the eliminations.
Jarencio was relegated to team consultant, while Gonzales, the team’s longtime assistant, was elevated to coach on an interim basis.
Gonzales made a triumphant coaching debut in the league after masterminding GlobalPort’s 98-77 demolition of powerhouse Barangay Ginebra.
However, the Batang Pier dropped a stinging 82-70 loss to Meralco in the final day of the elims, denying the team the chance to earn a twice-to-beat incentives in the playoffs.
As if the coaching change was not enough, management again made a stunning move just before the playoffs when it sent veteran playmaker Alex Cabagnot to San Miguel for Sol Mercado just a day prior to the trade deadline.
Before the trade, the left-handed Cabagnot had been the team’s leader in scoring, rebounding, and assists for the conference.
The move proved to be disastrous as the Batang Pier fell against twice-to-beat Barangay Ginebra, 95-78, during the quarterfinals to take a quick playoff exit.