TWO weeks since assuming the head coaching post of Barangay Ginebra, Jeffrey Cariaso preached patience as his players adapt to the triangle offense that has yielded so much success for coach Tim Cone both with San Mig and former team Alaska.
Cariaso is a living testimony of the success that the triangle offense can bring, having won seven PBA championships as a vital cog of the Alaska Aces during his playing years under Cone, now the all-time winning coach in league history.
The 41-year-old Ginebra rookie coach also won four more PBA titles as one of the American mentor’s assistant coaches with San Mig Super Coffee till last week.
The soft-spoken rookie coach has warned not to expect instant success with the triangle, expecially fans who have grown impatient after watching the talent-laden Kings come up short in the playoffs in the first two conferences of this season.
“I’m really happy with their effort (in practice). I told them our triangle won’t really feel good, and at times it won’t look good,” said Cariaso, who got a fitting sendoff at San Mig on Thursday after the Mixers bagged their third straight PBA championship via a 3-1 Commissioner’s Cup Finals series win over Talk ‘N Text.
“But I told them to just stay with it (triangle), be patient with it because once they get more familiar, it will be more comfortable,” he added.
Cariaso said the team is blessed to have Zaccheus Mason for the Governors Cup, describing the fresh-from-college import as an energy player and somewhat like a smaller version of James Mays, San Mig’s import in the recent Commissioner’s Cup.
“A little bit (like Mays), super sipag. He’s still getting his legs under him. He’s not yet there (in game shape), obviously because it’s just his first week, he’s unfamiliar with the style (of play) in Manila,” he added.
Despite being out of shape since arriving just several days ago, Mason managed to give a good account of himself after scoring 22 points and adding two blocks in the team’s 83-89 loss to sister team San Miguel Beer in their tune-up match last Thursday.
“His a high-energy guy, a guy who’ll be everywhere. His activity level is very high. A guy who won’t demand the ball but when we need him, he can,” said Cariaso in describing the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga standout.
Cariaso will have his much-awaited debut as Ginebra’s coach this Tuesday when the Gin Kings go up against GlobalPort Batang Pier.