NEWLY-installed Globalport coach Richie Ticzon admitted feeling the pressure coaching in the PBA for the very first time.
And it didn’t help that four coaches who had been an inspiration to him, namely Chot Reyes, Jong Uichico, Siot Tanquingcen, and Luigi Trillo won championships outright while in the early years of their coaching career.
“Mabigat kasi talaga ang pressure for me, kasi lahat ng tao sa akin nakatingin,” said Ticzon, who was appointed as Batang Pier coach on Saturday by no less than team owner Mikee Romero.
“Pero dun na lang ako tumitingin. Kumbaga, nakaya nila, bakit ako hindi.”
The fourth pick overall of the 1994 rookie draft added: “Basta importante sa akin is to compete and make this team competitive. If it (title) comes in my first year, it’s more than a blessing. Yan ang pagta-trabahuhan ko."
Ticzon also said he won’t be affected by the expected scrutiny on him by basketball fans, who immediately raised questions after he was named new coach of Globalport out of nowhere.
“Basta ako, I was given a task. I will try my best and I guarantee we will compete - every single day,” he added, while admitting he was aware of the team’s failed bid to get the services of Nash Racela, Olsen Racela or Alex Compton as Batang Pier coach before finally settling for him.
But he’d rather not set a goal at the moment on how the Batang Pier will fare when the season-opening Philippine Cup officially gets underway this Sunday.
“Ayokong mag-forecast. Mahirap 'yun. Basta ako sisiguruhin ko na lalaban kami at magiging banta sa lahat ng teams,” said Ticzon, who won a title each with Purefoods (San Mig) and Shell (Rain or Shine) in a nine-year pro career.
And neither will he adopt drastic changes to the team system with the league’s 39th season just a few days away.
“Wala akong babaguhin (from coach Junel’s system). Basta ang focus ko, defense. Yun naman ang gusto ni boss Mikee (Romero) sa team eh. Opensa kasi, natural na yan sa mga players ko,” said the man who took over the coaching chores from Junel Baculi.
But Ticzon is confident Globalport will perform well in the coming season after the franchise underwent a massive rebuilding that saw the Batang Pier tab rookies Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Nico Salva, and LA Revilla in the last draft, while adding veterans Eric Menk, Enrico Villanueva, Leo Najorda and promising rookie Justine Chua through trades.
“With the players that we have right now, I am optimistic,” he said. “Hopefully, the transition might be easier for me.”
Asked about the attitude and work ethics of his players, the young mentor Ticzon assured he has a good relationship with them.
“Okay naman kami. Sobrang Okay kami. Maganda ang relationship ko with all the players for the past two-and-half weeks that I have been here,” he said.
“As of now, wala akong problema sa kanila. Wala akong nakikitang may toyo rito gaya nung sinasabi ng iba,” he said with a laugh. “We’re laying down the groundworks bit by bit. Concentration namin talaga is defense.”