AFTER seeing their beloved team fall short again in the PBA Philippine Cup, fans of Barangay Ginebra obviously unhappy over the way the team is being run has started to call for coach Ato Agustin's head.
Majority of the fans interviewed by Spin.ph are already calling for a coaching change at Ginebra, just over a week after the top-seeded team lost a Game Seven to San Mig in their epic semifinal playoff.
See video of an interview with Ginebra fans:
Most of the blame for Ginebra's failure to end a six-year title drought has obviously been pinned on Agustin, a former league MVP who won championships as a coach in the NCAA with San Sebastian and in the PBA with Petron when he ended Talk 'N Text's grand slam hopes in 2011.
Although some fans are also unhappy with the 'meddling' of some team officials, most of the fans have come out to criticize Agustin's rotation and game plan as they called for a coaching change in the wake of San Miguel's decision to elevate Biboy Ravanes as head coach, replacing Gee Abanilla.
“Palitan na, dapat palitan. Hindi maayos ang palakad, dapat mas magaling,” said a rabid Ginebra fan.
“Mali lagi diskarte niya, hindi alam kung gaano gamitin ang mga tao niya,” said another Ginebra die hard.
Ginebra star guard LA Tenorio, however, was quick to leap to Agustin's defense, saying it is only natural that the coach will get the heat after every failed campaign.
“Ganun talaga ang buhay. 'Pag natalo, sa coach ang sisi. 'Pag nanalo, player ang magaling. Pero para sa amin, may agreement kami sa Ginebra, we win as a team, we lose as a team,” said Tenorio.
Although the team is formidable on paper, Tenorio, who copped flak himself for his questionable decisions in a Game Six loss to San Mig, said the young team will take some time to jell.
“Totally bago ang team namin, kahit ako nga bago pa rin dito. Isang taon pa lang ako sa Ginebra. Pero in time, we’ll be there (championship). Let’s give it some time. Tiwalang lang,” he added.
While most fans are calling for a coaching change, Tenorio said he’d rather stick it out with Agustin if he has his way.
“Kung ako masusunod, syempre ayoko muna (coaching change), pero management pa rin naman masusunod dyan. Kami very optimistic kami at positive sa mangyayari in the future,” said the outspoken team leader.
“Unfair kasi na i-judge si coach Ato sa Philippine Cup campaign namin, kasi tumapos kami na top seed, kaya lalong tumaas ang expectation ng lahat,” he added.
“Para sa akin, malaki ang potential namin, because we learned from our mistake now,” insisted Tenorio.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle likewise believes that Ginebra has the potential to dominate the league in the near future, considering how they have learned from the humbling all-Filipino experience.
“It’s a learning experience. Magandang senyales yun (Game Seven loss),” he said.
“Tiwala lang, kasi naniniwala kami na 'pag lumagpas kami ng semifinals, makapasok kami ng finals next conference, malaki chance naming mag-champion. Alam na namin ang problema eh,” he added.
“This is still a young team, compare mo sa two teams na nasa finals ngayon (San Mig and Rain or Shine). Lahat nag-i-start sa scratch, kailangan buuin pa, coach Ato needs more time to build this team,” Tenorio said.
And how will he react to the hatred of the fans on Agustin?
“Tingin ko unfair na ibaling nila lahat ang sisi kay coach Ato. Hindi nila alam ang sakripisyo at kung gaano magtrabaho ang coaching staff namin,” he said.
“Di ba nga may mga game plan kami, 'yun ginawa ng coach 'yun… pero kung hindi sinununod ng player, hindi na kasalanan ng coach yun,” he said.
“For me, not bad yung first conference namin, andami naming bagong player, andaming batang player. Tapos we lost to San Mig, a team that’s been playing in the finals the last few conferences,” concluded Tenorio.