RAJKO Toroman is set to sign a one-year contract as consultant of Barako Bull, with Bong Ramos formally assuming the position as the team's official head coach.
Raffy Casyao, the Barako Bull team manager, said management arrived at the decision after a one-month evaluation of the Serbian, who once called the shots for the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas and had played the same role of consultant briefly with Petron.
“Meron kaming kontratang pinag-uusapan, at least one year. So si Bong Ramos ang head coach at si coach Rajko naman ang active team consultant,” Casyao bared to Spin.ph shortly after Barako Bull’s 91-88 victory over Air21 in their tune-up game at the Gatorade-Hoops Center in Mandaluyong Monday.
The consultancy position is also expected to spare Barako Bull of any problems with the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), which has gained a favorable court ruling against the hiring of foreign coaches in the pro league.
The 57-year-old Toroman has been running the team’s practice alongside Ramos for nearly a month now, instilling his European coaching system that entails a lot of ball movement and perimeter shooting.
The former national mentor was amenable to the no-contract setup he had with Barako when he started running the team’s practice one week into the New Year. The Energy Cola management then took the time to weigh its options on whether to hire him as head coach or as consultant.
“So ngayon, `yung role niya sa Petron, ganun ang magiging role niya sa team. Siyempre, di naman enough ang one month para makuha lahat ni coach Bong yung sistema niya,” added Casyao.
In less than one month under Toroman’s guidance, the Energy Cola were busy on the negotiating table and got involved in the recent five-team, 10-player trade that saw them took in Jonas Villanueva and JC Intal from San Mig Coffee, along with Jojo Duncil from Petron, and Allen Maliksi from Barangay Ginebra.
But in return, Barako Bull dealt energetic guard Ronald Tubid to Petron, while veteran forward Leo Najorda and rookie playmaker Lester Alvarez went to San Mig Coffee.
Toroman said he’s confident Barako Bull will have a much better showing in the coming Commissioner’s Cup considering the team acquired a combination of young and veteran players in the trade to complement his team’s aging lineup.
Barako Bull has won its last two tune-up matches after losing the first three against ABL team San Miguel Beer, Air21, and Barangay Ginebra.
The new-look Energy Cola will get their first serious test when they go up against the defending champion Mixers on opening day of the mid-season conference this Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.