WILL Juno Sauler be breaking any rule if ever he is appointed head coach of Barangay Ginebra in the PBA while at the same time calling the shots with De La Salle in the UAAP?
Speculations over Sauler's status and future have grown since the coach of reigning UAAP champions Green Archers started mapping out plays for the Gin Kings during timeouts in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Although Sauler later made it clear he remains a Ginebra assistant coach as he was only given an 'active role' by management on the bench, not a few coaches insist that the role he has been tasked to do is already tantamount to taking over the head-coaching position from Ato Agustin.
But will he be breaking any rule if he is appointed head coach by Ginebra?
According to officials sought for comment by Spin.ph, there is no rule in place in the college leagues forbidding coaches from calling the shots in other leagues.
“UAAP does not have any rule prohibiting coaches from coaching in another league,” admitted Far Eastern University athletic director Mark Molina.
Incidentally, the Tamaraws' head coach, Nash Racela, is also an assistant coach of the Meralco Bolts.
However, PBA rules clearly say that coaches of member teams should not hold similar positions in 'any other league.'
That was precisely the rule that forced Norman Black, and just recently, Pido Jarencio to resign from their coaching posts at Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas upon taking on the head-coaching job of Talk 'N Text and Globalport, respectively.
Even Ginebra coach Ato Agustin left San Sebastian in the NCAA when he first assumed the mentoring job for Petron in the 2010 PBA season.
By remaining as Ginebra assistant coach, Sauler and the team have dodged all legal repercussions with regards to his designation, in much the same way another San Miguel-owned team, the Beermen, have named Todd Purves an 'active consultant' behind Biboy Ravanes to skirt the rule barring foreigners from coaching in the league.
But official designations aside, one question begs to be asked: 'Is Juno Sauler performing the duties of Ginebra head coach?
National University athletic director Junel Baculi doesn't believe so, saying the "added work" given by Ginebra to Sauler is merely a task assigned to him by his head coach.
Such roles are normal, Baculi added.
“In my opinion, he was instructed by the head coach to do this, which is normal for a head coach,” said Baculi, a former head coach in the pro league with GlobalPort and Barako Bull.
“Unless na gawin na niya the whole game ‘yung ginagawa ng head coach, which is stand up, talk to the players, shout at the players, shout at the referees, then head coach na ‘yun. Eh hindi naman ganun,” Baculi added.
However, another college coach believes otherwise. By being the one calling the plays the team will run during the course of a game, Sauler in effect is already the head coach of the team, he insisted.
While it is true what Sauler claimed that the game plan is mapped out by the entire Ginebra coaching staff, it is still Sauler who decides which plays to run during games, making him the head of the Ginebra coaches or - in short - the head coach.
“To decide what to call, for example, in crucial plays, that is the call of the head coach," said the coach who requested that he not be named. "If you are the ones calling (the plays), you have that power and that is the job of the head coach."
"That is where (the team will) rise and fall," he added.
Also, Baculi said that while the UAAP doesn’t prohibit coaches from plying their trade in other leagues, he believes the rule doesn’t exactly cover the PBA.
“It is like the players na magpapa-draft sa PBA. Hindi na sila puwedeng maglaro sa UAAP kahit wala pa silang contract (sa PBA). Ganun din sa coaches,” he said.
“You can’t coach in the pros if you are the coach here (UAAP). If you have to coach in the pros, you have to resign here (UAAP).”