JUNO Sauler refused to take credit for Barangay Ginebra’s overtime victory over Barako Bull in Friday night’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup amidst favorable comments from the team’s legion of fans.
The soft-spoken mentor played down his new role with the Kings as the reason for their 108-104 come-from-behind win over the Energy after he was seen on live television drawing up plays for the team during timeouts.
The set-up drew several praises from Ginebra fans, who even clamored through various social networking sites that Sauler be appointed as head coach in place of regular mentor Ato Agustin.
Agustin had been the subject of criticism from diehard Ginebra followers especially after the league’s most popular ballclub failed to advance to the Philippine Cup Finals.
The longtime Ginebra assistant coach, however, expressed his support to Agustin.
“We are still supporting coach Ato because he is our head coach,” said Sauler, who also holds the position as La Salle’s head coach.
As for the positive response of the fans on his work during the game, Sauler deflected the positive feedback to the players, saying they are the ones who make it happen and not him.
“The plays will only be useful if the players accomplished it,” said Sauler. “They make the play happen. I don’t think it’s really the design of the play or what play was called. It’s about the players who make it successful.”
“Kahit anong ganda ng i-draw up mo, kapag hindi naman na-execute ... Kahit pangit ang play, pero ‘yung talent ng players, nagawan naman nila ng paraan,” Sauler cited.
The unassuming former La Salle cager said he will continue to draw up the plays for Ginebra for the rest of the conference, but made it clear it was a collective effort on the part of team’s coaching staff as the strategies had already been mapped out prior to the game.
“We discuss naman everything before we go to the game and in practice. Lahat ‘yun napag-usapan na ng coaches. It’s not na, akin lahat nanggaling, hindi rin lahat kay coach Ato. Everyone contributes,” said Sauler.
“We are trying to improve the set-up.”
Sauler reiterated his commitment as head coach of La Salle, which he led to the UAAP men’s basketball title last year, and as assistant mentor of Ginebra.
“I’m staying with La Salle. With Ginebra, no coaching change. Everything is status quo. We are just helping out,” Sauler said.