NO coaching changes are in the offing for Meralco, and Ryan Gregorio is staying where he is now.
Bolts board representative Mon Seguismundo made this clear as he denied rumors that assistant coach Jong Uichico is taking over the coaching reins at Meralco once Gregorio moves over to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) to handle a new team under the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
“Our coaching staff is intact. And we have full confidence in coach Ryan Gregorio and his staff. They will stay where they are,” Seguismundo, also the current PBA vice-chairman, told Spin.ph over the weekend.
Seguismundo confirmed a Spin.ph story that representatives of the ABL have approached the group in recent weeks and invited it to form another team from the Philippines in the fledling regional basketball league.
However, he said talks have not gone and won't go beyond the exploratory stage.
“I know the ABL has been trying to approach us. And we talked a lot, but I don’t think we’re going beyond exploration,” the Meralco board executive added candidly.
San Miguel Beer is the lone Philippine representative in the ABL and recently won its maiden championship after a three-game sweep of deposed title holder Indonesia Warriors in the Finals. The league allows a maximum two teams from each member country.
For now, Seguismundo said Meralco is focused on boosting its roster in time for the season-ending Governors Cup after two failed playoffs bids in the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup, respectively.
He said the Bolts are merely on a “stand-by mode” as far as the fate of veteran Asi Taulava is concerned, saying reports of trades in the past weeks were mere talks in the media.
“We’re just awaiting any formal offers from any interested teams. Kasi lahat ng naririnig namin sa ngayon eh puro lang sa media. Sana gumalaw na sila (interested teams) so we could start the talks,” Seguismundo said.
Rumors came out a week ago linking Barangay Ginebra rookie Fil-Am Chris Ellis together with guard Josh Urbiztondo to a direct trade with Meralco for Taulava and rookie Fil-Am Cliff Hodge
SMC sports director Noli Eala has since denied it, stressing the Kings are not in any way trading the 6-foot-5 Ellis.
Meralco owns the PBA rights to the 6-foot-9 Taulava, who was named ABL MVP in the recent concluded season after helping the Beermen win the championship.
The past few weeks, the 40-year-old Taulava has made known his wish to play again in Asia’s first ever pro league, in the hope of ending his playing career with Ginebra.