AFTER spending the last three conferences doing managerial work, Siot Tanquingcen is just glad to be back doing what he loves best – coaching.
Tapped to call the shots for Barako Bull, Tanquingcen said the immediate task is to instill the winning identity of a franchise that has long been in the doldrums.
“Coaching is always a challenge, but I thank God for the opportunity that I was given,” Tanquingcen told Spin.ph on Tuesday after the Energy posted a 96-80 win over UAAP men’s basketball champion De La Salle in their tune-up match at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
Tanquingcen, who replaced Bong Ramos as Barako Bull mentor, said his three-conference `coaching sabbatical’ gave him an opportunity to learn from other coaches.
Tanquingcen said he watched from the bench how Gee Abanilla handled San Miguel during his short stint as team manager of the Beermen.
Then as team consultant of Barako Bull the past two conferences, the 41-year-old champion coach also had the chance to study how Ramos did his thing with the Energy.
“It’s (coaching) always a learning experience and I’m hoping that I could improve from the mistakes I did as well, because nothing’s perfect,” added the soft-spoken Tanquingcen, whose last coaching stint in the league was with Barangay Ginebra.
As far as the Energy is concerned, Tanquingcen intends to slowly establish an identity similar to the fight-till-the-end kind of team that predecessor Red Bull had been known for during the time of Junthy Valenzuela, Lordy Tugade, Jimwell Torion, Enrico Villanueva, Larry Fonacier, Mick Pennisi, Celino Cruz, and Paolo Bugia, among others.
“Gusto din nila (Barako Bull) Boss George (Chua) na maibalik somehow 'yung identity dati ng Red Bull, kasi he wants to see at least, like the previous (players) wearing this uniform like sila Junthy, Jimwell and Lordy. But it’s something we’ll try to build, not exactly to copy from them but build our identity,” he explained.
The former Red Bull franchise won three titles - the 2001 and 2002 Commissioner’s Cup and the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference – with coach Yeng Guiao at the helm.
Tanquingcen recognizes at this point, Barako Bull is far from championship form, citing the process the players will have to go through as they try to reinvent themselves in the coming conferences.
“Our emphasis is trying to get better muna at doing things that we need to improve on which is rebounding, defense, and understand that this is a process,” he said.
“Hindi ito magic na one click and everything will work. In fact, things might get worse pa nga, pero, we’re hoping, siyempre gusto din nila Boss George na maibalik somehow `yung identity dati ng Red Bull, and that’s what we’re trying to create,” added the soft-spoken former player-turned-coach.
Barako Bull, which placed no higher than fourth in the last four seasons of the league, will be bringing in Eric Wise as its import for the season-ending Governors Cup.
Wise is the son of former PBA import Francois Wise.