BOYET Fernandez got a rude awakening on his return to the PBA.
Just two days after leading San Beda to a fifth successive NCAA championship, Fernandez was dealt a 22-point defeat by Talk 'N Text as he formally assumed the reins of NLEX in the PBA Philippine Cup.
No wonder Fernandez quickly owned up to the setback after spending over half an hour holed up in the dugout with assistants led by Adonis Tierra and Sandy Arespacochaga after the 81-103 defeat.
“I told the boys, this loss is on me, they have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Fernandez, who last coached in the pro league in 2010 with the defunct Sta. Lucia Realty side.
Fernandez has had a lot of success since. The former PBA guard has won two NCAA titles with San Beda and six with NLEX in the D-League to go with the one PBA championship he won with Sta. Lucia.
But now he pleads for patience as he makes the adjustment to the pro league.
“I signed a longer contract with NLEX, I hope management will be patient with me. I know have won championships, but it’s a different league right now with the PBA because the players are different. They’re really quick,” he pointed out.
“Before, I had Marlou (Aquino) and Dennis (Espino) at the post, but right now, we’re playing against Kelly (Williams) who was my player before and Ryan Reyes,” he added.
“Malaki na ang pinagkaiba ng PBA. So many things to learn for now, pero dahan dahan lang, makukuha ko din.”
The Road Warriors were thoroughly outplayed on Friday night: they had 18 more turnovers than the Texters, 29-11, were beaten in the fastbreak department, 16-0 and had far less assists, 11-22.
But Fernandez is optimistic that it will just be a matter of time before they settle down as a team.
“I have veteran (players) helping me, like Asi (Taulava), Rico (Villanueva) and Wynne (Arboleda). Kakayanin namin, but it will take time,” said Fernandez.