FORMER Purefoods star Jerry Codinera believes the current struggle the Star Hotshots is part of the team's growing pains under coach Jason Webb.
But as the man looked back on his stellar 12 seasons with the franchise from its PBA debut in 1988, Codinera can't help but notice that a lot of things have changed.
Codinera bared that during their time, Purefoods also went through down times but never failed to find a way to get back in the title hunt.
“Nung time kasi namin noon, may time na mababa talaga ang laro namin, pero hindi nagtatagal, babalik kami sa finals. Kaya halos lahat ng coaches namin nun, nakatikim ng finals,” said Codinera.
“Kami kasi noon, iisa kami. Tulong-tulong. Alam namin kung ano ang mission namin. Kasi ayaw naming ipahiya ang fans. We maximize whatever is available,” he added.
The pillar of the old Purefoods franchise said each and every player of the current team must know their roles and know when to step up.
“Nung nawala yung James Yap, naramdaman nila. Twenty points per game din yun, dapat may nagpuno run,” he said. “Very untimely yung calf muscle injury ni James.”
“The youngsters should step up. Yes, you cannot create a superstar overnight. May series of games yan. Pero dapat sa mga bata, ngayon pa lang alam na nila role nila. Handa dapat sila,” added the current Arellano head coach.
“Saka kulang sa team, walang nag-i-step up, pag na injure ang mga beterano at stars nila, walang naka-relieve, hindi katulad ng ibang teams na maraming pumupuno, pag-gitnaan. Yung support group, malaking bagay yun."
To relive the glory days of the franchise, Webb and the Hotshots must find a way to work together, the former University of the East standout said.
“Yung team ngayon, they have to correct what they need to address. They have to find out, ano yung bagay na makakatulong at di makakatulong. Kailangan magtulungan, hindi pwedeng si Jason lang, hindi [rin] pwedeng players lang.”
Asked if he agreed with the appointment of a rookie coach like Webb, Codinera pointed to a similar instance in his time with Purefoods.
“Kasi alam mo naman sa Purefoods now, sa PBA ngayon, they can appoint kahit sino, kahit hindi necessarily highly credentialed coach, it depends on the one [who's] hiring,” he said.
“But sometimes, may mga bagito na successful like Ryan Gregorio, naging successful on their first year. Purefoods per se, lahat ng humawak noon nag finals. So may precedent na. Kaya hindi ko masabi kung good or bad yung appointment niya, he has to learn from his mistakes.
"Mabibigat ang kalaban niyang coaches ngayon, mga strategists talaga. Sa PBA ngayon, You just have to be very good pag nilagay ka,” added the league's former ‘Defense Minister.'
And his message to Webb?
“Hopefully, he can fast-track (the development of his team), alam mo naman ang mga tao, mainipin yan. Pwede ka ngang palitan kahit kaka-champion mo lang," Codinera said.
But when asked if he's open to returning to Purefoods one day as a coach, Codinera responds with a laugh.
“Depende, bahala na. Kung may tawag, why not? Pero ngayon focus muna ko dito sa pag-develop ng young players ko with Arellano,” he said.