From PBA to college coaching and back for Juno Sauler: 'It's the same basketball'
Juno Sauler is reunited with former college teammates Jason Webb, the Hotshots coach, and fellow deputy Tonyboy Espinosa in his return to the PBA.

THE transition from coaching in the PBA to collegiate level then back doesn’t bother champion mentor Juno Sauler.

In his very own words, ‘it’s the same basketball.’

“Whether it be college or the PBA, it’s the same basketball. It’s something that you do (for a long time now),” said the soft-spoken Sauler, who is making a comeback in the pro league as part of Jason Webb’s coaching staff at Star.

The former coach of De La Salle finally had his taste of victory in the PBA on Friday night as the Hotshots scored a 102-89 beating of Blackwater to make the quarterfinals of the Smart Bro-Philippine Cup.

Sauler lost his first game back in the league as Star lost to Barako Bull, 101-83.

“I would have wanted a victory,” he said with a smile.

[See PJ Simon pumps life into Star campaign]

Sauler, who steered the Green Archers to the 2013 UAAP men’s basketball championship, would rather not comment on the circumstances that led him to Star, where he is reunited with former college teammates Jason Webb, the Hotshots coach, and fellow deputy Tonyboy Espinosa.

At the same time, he said joining the Hotshots gives him the chance to help Webb in his rookie season as a coach.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to be able to help the team in whatever way I can contribute and in whatever way coach Jason thinks I can help the team,” added Sauler, who served as Ginebra deputy for a long time prior to calling the shots for La Salle.

Webb said Sauler has been on his radar for a long time, it just so happened he was not available at the time.

That was until Sauler resigned as coach of the Green Archers.

“I never knew Juno would become available,” said Webb. “Forget about we're teammates, he’s a guy who’s been an assistant in this league for so long, and a good assistant at that. It just so happened that we’ve known each other for so long.


“We’ve known each other for more than 25 years and that serves as a plus working together. Bonus sa akin 'yun.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos