BARAKO Bull has appointed Bong Ramos as its new head coach effective on Tuesday after relieving Junel Baculi, who appears headed to the Globalport team of Mikee Romero.
Barako Bull team manager Raffy Casyao confirmed the coaching switch on Tuesday, saying the team is looking to move in a new direction after an alarming tailspin in the season-opening PBA Philippine Cup.
“We started well this conference, but all of a sudden, we lost three straight and ngayon, nasa ninth place na kami, so as management have been discussing this, effective today (Tuesday), management has appointed coach Bong Ramos as the team’s new head coach,” Casyao told Spin.ph.
But with the Energy Cola going just 1-4 after a 2-2 start to the season, Casyao said management had to make a “drastic move to arrest the team’s alarming skid.”
“We have a competitive team, di naman so-so mga players namin. You know that easily, nasa No. 6 or No. 5 (dapat) kami. We’re not saying we can be a champion team but where we are is definitely below the expectation,” added Casyao.
Baculi, however, may not be without a job for long, having been targeted by Romero since Globalport joined the pro league at the start of the season. The two were together as coach and team manager in the Philippine team that won the gold medal in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.
Glen Capacio, in fact, was only prevailed upon by Romero to assume the reins for the Batang Pier only after the team failed to pry Baculi away from Barako Bull.
Baculi, who Casyao said was is in the middle of a two-year deal with Barako Bull, coached his last game for the team on Friday when the Energy Cola dropped a heart-breaking 85-86 decision to the Mike Cortez-powered Air21.
The Barako Bull team manager said management has full trust in Ramos, who had already previously handled the team when the Energy Cola were still carrying the brand name Air21 from January 2011 until Baculi was appointed head coach in August 2011.
“We have to get our new coach from our ranks. And si Coach Bong, siya naman ang naghandle ng team nung bago dumating si coach Junel. He is familiar with most of the players and also he’s familiar with the system. So kung meron mang changes, madali nang pag-usapan,” he said.
This would be the third PBA tour of duty for Ramos, who also handled the FedEx Express team just before the franchise replaced its name to Air21 in the 2004-2005 season. The former Mapua Cardinal’s coaching resume also includes a stint as the Brunei Barracudas' coach in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
However, Ramos will be taking over at particularly a difficult time when the struggling Energy Cola have also lost their best player, Enrico Villanueva, to an ACL injury during the loss to Air21.
Saying the parting of ways was a difficult decision to make, Casyao said team management was grateful to Baculi for laying the foundation for Barako Bull with the key personnel he added during the offseason.
“Coach Junel did some good to the team because he guided our team to a semifinals in the second conference last season (Commissioner’s Cup). Di na rin naman masama, though di na naging maganda performance ng team lately,” he said.