AS it inches closer of becoming the 11th member team of the PBA, Blackwater Sports is set on retooling its coaching staff in preparation for its pro debut.
Sources told Spin.ph former Petron assistant coach Leo Austria is being considered to join the team as part of its coaching staff once the franchise formally jumps ship – possibly for the 40th season of Asia’s pioneering pro league in October.
Austria is currently without a job after being left out in the aftermath of the coaching rigodon at San Miguel Beer that saw former deputy Biboy Ravenas assuming the head mentoring position, with American Todd Purves as active consultant.
The former PBA Rookie of the Year, who won an Asean Basketball League (ABL) title for San Miguel last year, was also not re-signed for another season as coach of Adamson after several quarters and school alumni were reportedly dissatisfied with how the Falcons finished Season 76 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament despite leading the squad to Final Four finishes in the previous years.
At present, Leo Isaac calls the shot for Blackwater Sports in the D-League.
A source disclosed to Spin.ph that Isaac will continue to hold the same position in the event the team makes it to the pro ranks, with Austria possibly being one of his assistants.
Incidentally, Ateneo is also trying to lure Austria, not as coach of its men’s basketball squad but as part of the school’s athletic department to help in the entire sports program of the Blue Eagles.
Austria’s son Bacon, a former Ateneo player, sees action for Blackwater Sports in the D-League.
Blackwater Sports moved a step closer to becoming the newest expansion team in the PBA after owner Dioceldo Sy met with league officials led by Chito Salud on Thursday night.
The application of the franchise is set to be reviewed by the PBA board.
With the team looking to join the pro league, Blackwater Sports is also bent on improving its current roster for its ‘swan song’ in the D-League Foundation Cup set to open on March 18 where it is the defending champion.
Sources said Blackwater Sports is now eyeing players who will not only suit up for the team in the Foundation Cup but also in the pros if and when the league grants the franchise a ‘direct-hire’ provision.
Red Bull was the last expansion team to be accepted in the PBA in 2000. The team was given the provision to elevate players from its Philippine Basketball League squad which includes Kerby Raymundo, Junthy Valenzuela, Jimwell Torion, Lordy Tugade, Davonn Harp, and Bernard Tanpua.