THE mini-rigodon of coaches of sister teams Talk ‘N Text and Meralco finally pushed through on Friday as Jong Uichico moves over to the Tropang Texters while Nash Racela joins the Bolts.
Virgil Villavicencio, who serves as the media relations officer of the MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) group, said the “coaching swap” is effective immediately as both the Tropang Texters and the Bolts begin their practice next week in preparation for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“Talk ‘N Text will reinforce its coaching staff with the addition of Jong Uichico, who will be moving over from Meralco to become an assistant coach with TnT,” said Talk ‘N Text board of governor Ricky Vargas in an official statement sent to media outlets.
The PLDT camp, however, is silent on the reason behind the swap amid talk that there was a falling-out at Meralco between Uichico and Gregorio.
Meralco’s alternate board governor Al Panlilio said the arrival of Racela will help Gregorio due to his good grasp of the dribble drive offense, a system that former Talk ‘N Text coach and current Gilas Pilipinas bench tactician Chot Reyes introduced a few years back.
“His addition will help the Bolts infuse technology on offense with his good grasp of the up-tempo game as well as the dribble drive motion,” Panlilio said.
Uichico, the fourth winningest coach in the league with eight PBA titles, will be reuniting with Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black. The 51-year-old Uichico served as Black’s assistant back in the early to mid-1990s when they were still with San Miguel Beer.
When Black left to handle Mobiline, Uichico went to serve as American coach Rob Jacobs’ deputy until he was eventually appointed head coach in 1999.
Uichico went on to steer the Beermen to six PBA championships from 1999 to 2006 before moving over to Barangay Ginebra 2006 to 2012, where he won two more league championships.
The veteran PBA coach eventually joined Meralco on January 2012 to serve as Ryan Gregorio’s assistant up until this season’s Philippine Cup.