GERARDO ‘Bong’ Ramos said he’s not a coaching wizard and won’t guarantee an instant turnaround for Blackwater in its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign now that he’s calling the shots.
For starters, he’ll be inheriting a team wallowing at the bottom of the standings after losing its first three games by an average margin of 17.3 points.
Second, he held his first-ever practice with the team 24 hours after taking over from Leo Isaac, and 24 hours before the Elite return to the court to face GlobalPort at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Hindi naman tayo madyikero," the 57-year-old Mapua alumnus said shortly after the Elite wrapped up their first practice in the post-Isaac era at the team’s training facility at the SGS gym on Labor Day.
“I can only do so much. It’s difficult because I only had one practice and then, game na tomorrow (Wednesday). May kaunti lang na adjustment,” added Ramos. “But it’s a big challenge for me.”
Ramos is fresh from a stint with Stapac team (formerly Aspac) in the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL), where his team came a win short of making the finals, when the call to coach Blackwater came.
He came back to the country actually, to just have a short vacation with his family in Baler, Quezon The next thing he knew, he was returning to Indonesia asking for a release from his multi-titled ballclub, which he got hassle-free.
“Mabait yung boss ko sa Indonesia. Alam naman niya na pag may offer ako na head-coaching job sa PBA or even sa UAAP and NCAA, walang problema sa kanya,” he said. “Basta huwag lang during the (IBL) season ako magpapaalam.”
This is Ramos’ fourth stint as head coach in the PBA, having previously mentored FedEx, Air21, and Barako Bull. And its something which he referred to as ‘God’s plan.’
“Hindi naman ito aksidente. Plano ng Diyos ito, and I believe that,” he stressed.
Ramos also talked to Isaac the night he arrived from Jakarta, and briefly talked at the team practice when the former Ginebra point guard bid his players goodbye.
“He’s very professional (about it). He’s happy pa nga because I was the one chosen to handle the team and replace him,” said Ramos, who served as Isaac’s deputy for two years before leaving for Indonesia last year.
“He knows that I know the company, I know the team, I know the players, even the assistant coaches. I have no problem with that. Maganda naman ang usapan.”
Hopefully, Blackwater's transition can be as smooth as his conversation with his predecessor.
“Unti-unti siyempre, then I will put some of the organization after the game on Wednesday. I will put the most practical and yung makakatulong muna,” said Ramos.
“And then slowly as we go on, papasok na natin ng unti-unti (yung sistema).”