THEY were so used to the spotlight their entire PBA careers but for a change, Jong Uichico, Allan Caidic, and Jun Limpot willingly stepped aside and silently worked behind the scenes in De La Salle’s successful run to the UAAP men's basketball championship this season.
Coach Juno Sauler paid tribute to the work the three put in when it was his turn to speak during Thursday's 'Animo Night' victory party at the De La Salle grounds.
“They worked so hard like the players,” said Sauler.
During the same event, Sauler admitted Uichico, a former head coach of Barangay Ginebra where Sauler has worked for a long time as an assistant, was a strong influence in his coaching career.
“There’s one coach who stands out in my coaching career and that’s Jong Uichico,” said Sauler of the multi-titled coach and former natonal mentor.
Meanwhile, Caidic and Limpot, star players during their colorful careers, were gracious enough to shun the spotlight and silently did their work behind the scenes as Sauler’s deputies.
Despite having not played a single game in the pro league, Sauler said he didn’t feel a certain gap from both Limpot and Caidic, who gamely took the young Archers under their wings.
“They’ve been very, very helpful and very big. Just their experience alone playing, they bring something else, their learning experience during their years in the PBA, and what they can teach to the college players is invaluable and immeasurable,” said Sauler.
“They have been a very big help for me,” he added.
Former La Salle coach Virgil Villavicencio also acknowledged the work put in by both Caidic and Limpot, stressing to give "credit where credit is due."
Caidic is considered one the finest shooters the country has ever produced, while Limpot, a former De La Salle star, was one of the best big men in the college and pro ranks during his prime.
But Sauler said the roles of Caidic and Limpot didn’t focus on merely teaching what they do best.
“Coach Allan and coach Jun, they have no limits to their roles. Everyone thinks that coach Allan is the shooting coach and coach Jun is the big man coach. But they are more to it than just shooting coach and big man coach," said the soft-spoken coach.
“They helped a lot with game strategies and game planning and whatever suggestions they can give me, I’m always open to that,” said Sauler, who will return as assistant coach of Ginebra by next season.