ALLAN Gregorio has the inside track on the head-coaching job of the University of the Philippines, getting the backing from major basketball personalities who feel he has what it takes to revive the Maroons' floundering basketball program.
Gregorio, currently the coach of UP Integrated School, is one of the candidates being considered for the position along with interim coach Rey Madrid and former PBA hotshot Paolo Mendoza who will be coaching the UP players in the PBA D-League next month.
However, the brother of Meralco coach Ryan has this early been assured of support by basketball patrons like Manny V. Pangilinan and Air21 big boss Bert Lina.
Insiders also feel Gregorio has the right connections to make a difference in the recruitment battle as well as the coaching experience to boost a Maroons side that has won just three league games over the last four years - and none in the last UAAP wars.
“Iba kasi yung dala na marketing power nung Gregorio, plus the fact na mas mukhang siya pa ang may pinakamalawak at active coaching experience,” said the source.
Gregorio has handled teams in the PBL and the defunct Liga Pilipinas and likewise served as assistant to Rajko Toroman in the original Gilas team before taking on the role of chief back-up to Bong Ramos with PBA ballclub Air21 three years ago.
He has also been tapped to help Jong Uichico in the Sinag Pilipinas team bound for the coming Myanmar Southeast Asian Games.
The latest to put his support behind Gregorio is Meralco vice president for human resources and corporate services Ramon Segismundo, who is also the incoming chairman of the PBA.
“Ako personally, I go for Allan. Kasi I have seen him in action and I have seen how he operates,” said Segismundo, Meralco's representative to the PBA board.
“I can express this support to the UP board. And I will,” he added. “All out naman ang support ng Meralco sa UP eh. Madaming UP alumni dito…”
Segismundo however insisted that Meralco’s continuing support for UP “will always be separate from the coaching decision.”
“But again, as for myself … full support ako kay Allan,” he said.
Toroman, coaching consultant of Barako Bull in the PBA, bared that Gregorio can be a very good choice for UP coach, saying the outspoken UAAP television panelist "knows his basketball."
“I think it’s time we see Allan coach in a big league like the UAAP … he is more than equipped and ready,” said Toroman.
“After years of struggle, they need to go for somebody who is really experienced,” he added.