BARAKO Bull head coach Bong Ramos has likened his working relationship with team consultant Rajko Toroman to the Ron Jacobs-Jong Uichico partnership back in early 2000.
Jacobs, like Toroman a former national coach, revived the San Miguel franchise's fortunes when he took over the coaching chores from Norman Black, with Uichico his understudy.
After almost five years of apprenticeship under Jacobs, Uichico went on to have a successful career as head coach marked by eight PBA championships with San Miguel and Ginebra from 1999-2012.
Ramos is no doubt looking forward to mirroring Uichico's success after his apprenticeship with Toroman.
Though he has won countless titles in the Southeast Asian basketball circuit, Ramos looks at a PBA championship as the ultimate goal of every Filipino coach - a dream he hopes to achieve with the help of his Serbian mentor.
“Marami akong natutunan kay coach Rajko. Makikita mo naman sa laro eh,” said Ramos, who is now eagerly learning the system that Toroman graciously shares with the Barako Bull team.
The former Mapua Cardinals hotshot turned coach feels Toroman has a wealth of basketball knowledge to share after four decades spent coaching in the European and Asian basketball circuits.
“Araw-araw mayroon akong natutunan sa kanya, at talagang mas lumawak ang kaalaman ko sa pag-coach," said the Barako Bull head coach.
At the same time, Ramos said Toroman is always open to suggestions.
“Madalas pag may na-suggest ako tinatanggap rin niya," Ramos added. “Mabait si coach Rajko, open siya sa lahat basta’t alam niyang makakaganda sa team."
Asked how he feels playing second fiddle to Toroman who calls the shots during games, Ramos said he viewed the set-up as part of his learning process.
“Maganda naman yung takbo ng sistema niya, and sabi ko nga transfer of technology ito," said Ramos. “Nakikita ko naman na maganda ang epekto kaya bakit ko kukuwestiyunin."
Ramos explained that it is no longer unusual for teams to allow their consultants to take the lead during games, the same set-up he had when he was still a consultant for four-time champions Aspac Texmaco of Indonesia in the National Basketball League.