THE coaching set-up at Barangay Ginebra had just gotten a new twist.
Longtime assistant Juno Sauler explained that he’s taken an 'active role’ in calling the shots for the Kings, stressing it was something that management wanted him to do at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Ato Agustin remains very much the head coach of the league’s most popular team as Sauler said he was merely tasked to 'implement’ the game plan during timeouts, a set-up that definitely puzzled a lot of people especially after Sauler was caught on live television mapping the plays for the Kings in their huddle during the game against Barako Bull Friday night.
“It’s just collective effort from everyone (in the coaching staff). It’s a sharing of ideas with the coaches present, so we’re active than usual,” Sauler told sports scribes just before leaving the dugout of Ginebra at the Smart Araneta Coliseum following the Kings’ 108-104 win over the Energy in overtime.
But Sauler explained the game plan was something the Ginebra coaching staff deliberated upon before and after practices to ensure they have a clear-cut approach to every game this conference.
“Before we practice and after practice. coaches have debates on what to do. It just so happened that I was tasked to have it implemented during games,” he said.
Calls for order at the Ginebra bench – with too many voices being heard during timeout huddles -- came following the Kings’ ouster in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup despite finishing the elimination round as the top seeded team.
Shortly after the disappointing finish, reports came out that Agustin resigned from his post, which San Miguel management quickly denied and said the former league MVP turned coach will still call the shots for the franchise.
Despite the sudden development, Sauler maintained he’s still committed to coaching La Salle in the coming UAAP season, saying his “active role” with the Kings is only at least for this conference as per management’s directive.
“Since it’s the offseason in the UAAP, now I have more time. They (management) asked me to have a bigger role and responsibility because during the UAAP season, I won’t be there (in the Ginebra practice),” explained the soft-spoken Sauler, who steered La Salle to the UAAP men’s championship last year.
“Ngayon, it depends on management. But I don’t know what will happen after this conference, especially when the UAAP starts.”