AS if its hot start in the PBA Governors Cup is not enough, TNT Katropa continues to upgrade its personnel, this time at the coaching level.
Veteran Art dela Cruz has been added to the coaching staff of Jong Uichico as the Texters try to address a weak spot in their game even with a league-best 6-0 record in the season-ending conference.
As expected, dela Cruz will handle the side of TNT Katropa which has been his forte during his playing years – defense.
“I know he can help the team with his defensive knowledge,” said Uichico of dela Cruz, with whom he previously worked as deputy with San Miguel, and later, Barangay Ginebra.
The Texters notched their sixth straight win last week with a 124-117 win over Phoenix, incidentally, the last team in which dela Cruz last served as deputy to coach Koy Banal, who was replaced by Ariel Vanguardia just before the start of the final conference of the season.
Dela Cruz, father of Blackwater player Art, is a 10-year veteran and a three-time member of the league's All-Defensive Team.
Team manager Virgil Villavicencio said dela Cruz signed a one year contract with the team and may officially sit on the TNT Katropa bench in its next game against Mahindra.
“He’s already been attending our practices. Hopefully, by next game available na siya,” said Villavicencio.
The entry of dela Cruz should come in handy for Uichico, whose two other assistants will have their hands full handling their respective teams in different tournaments next month.
Josh Reyes will be calling the shots for Gilas 5.0 campaigning in the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup, while Nash Racela is back at the helm of a Far Eastern University side out to retain its UAAP men’s basketball title.