ANTIPOLO – Jojo Lastimosa was honest enough to say good friend Chot Reyes played a role in him landing the job as team manager of TNT after an eighth-year stay with NLEX.
The two goes back to their days at Alaska and now are reunited at TNT after Lastimosa took over the place of the retiring Gabby Cui.
He was vocal enough to acknowledge his hiring definitely has the blessing of Reyes.
“When management hires somebody, they have to ask the coach. First I think they have to ask his opinion, and if the personality fits to the coach and if I could really contribute to the franchise,” said Lastimosa on Thursday night.
[See Jolas leaves NLEX to take on new role at TNT]
“I would say Chot has a huge part in my hiring, but at the same time, I have to prove that I don’t need a ‘backer’ sort of just to get into a position.”
Lastimosa played under Reyes at Alaska in the early 90s, where the TNT coach served as deputy to coach Tim Cone in the team that won the very first championship of the Aces in franchise history.
The two later had a brief reunion at Pop Cola, before Lastimosa returned to Alaska where he eventually retired.
But this is the first time the bosom buddies will be serving in different capacities.
“I’m in a new role to help him kind of make everything easier for him to coach - get him the players, give him personnel he needs. So yun ang role ko dito, to make Chot’s job easier,” said the PBA great who was voted as part of the league’s 25 Greatest Players.
There’s a tinge of sadness in Lastimosa leaving NLEX, where he's been a deputy to coach Yeng Guiao, especially after seeing the franchise build and develop a team which he believes could compete.
“There’s part of me na nanghihinayang, but there’s a part of me din na looking forward to being in a franchise that has a big history of winning just like Alaska,” he said.
“I miss winning. And they have a winning tradition.”
Unfortunately for Lastimosa, his first game as TNT team manager didn’t end well as the Tropang Giga went down against the NLEX Road Warriors, 90-89.