THE top-notch businessman that he is, Mikee Romero knows fully well the gamble he is taking by naming the untested Richie Ticzon as the next coach of Globalport.
They Said It!
“Yes, I am taking the risk. Parang business ito. Big risk, bigger return.” Globalport team owner Mikee Romero
said Romero, the Globalport franchise owner recently named by Forbes magazine as the 26th richest person in the county.
Romero spoke just hours after making yet another shock announcement in a surprise-filled offseason for the rebuilding Batang Pier, naming former Ateneo point guard Richie Ticzon to take the place of Junel Baculi.
Ticzon is a former streak-shooting guard picked fourth overall in the 1994 draft by Pepsi (Talk `N Text) before being traded to Purefoods (San Mig), and later on played for Shell in largely undistinguished pro career.
The former Blue Eagle also had very little coaching experience before taking over, and was in fact initially named an assistant coach by Romero before the shock upgrade to head coach on Saturday.
However, Romero, the youngest team owner in the pro league at 42, hopes the old gambit of taking a chance on an unproven coach will once again reap benefits for him and his young franchise.
The gamble on Ticzon, however, is not without precedent. Romero had in the past also gambled on a young, untested coach in Jorge Gallent, who went on to lead his team to unprecedented success in the old PBL.
“Same situation `yung pagkaka-appoint ko kay Richie when I was in the PBL. That time, pinapahanap ko ng coach si Jorge Gallent, whom I eventually named to lead Harbour Centre,” recalled Romero of his dominant amateur basketball team which won titles one after the other from 2006-2009.
“Maaalala niyo, seven-peat kami nun. Anim na sunod-sunod na titulo ang binigay sa amin ni Jorge,” said the president of Sultan 900 Inc.
Romero is dead-bent on turning things around for a team competing in only its second season in the pro league.
Over the last seven days, Globalport underwent a massiverebuilding by acquiring rookies Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Nico Salva and LA Revilla in the draft, while getting veteran big men Eric Menk, Enrico Villanueva, Leo Najorda, and young slotman Justin Chua via a trade with San Mig Coffee.
“Wala kaming ibang gusto kungdi ang palakasin ang team. Talagang we are evaluating everything now that we have a mix of players na talented,” Romero said.
“Sa ngayon halos nabuo ko na `yung team. For this conference, ito na ang team na ilalaban natin. Laban na ito,” added Romero, who also shook up his coaching staff prior to elevating Ticzon to head coach on an interim basis.
Prior to the draft, the Batang Pier signed up Bonnie Tan, Mac Cuan, Erick Gonzales, and conditioning coach Julio Veloso to bolster a pool of coaches made up of holdovers Glenn Capacio and Johnedel Cardel.
Meanwhile, Romero bared the team had an amicable parting of ways with Baculi, who decided to focus on his job as athletic director of National University after serving as head coach of the team for two conferences.
“Walang naging samaan ng loob. Besides, kailangan din siya sa NU lalo’t aggressive din ang athletic program nung school,” Romero said.
Baculi presided over the team practice for the last time Friday morning, before finally bidding the team goodbye.