TYRONE Bautista is leaving his post as head coach of the La Salle women’s basketball team after accepting a job in Thailand that will put him in charge of junior cage programs of different international schools.
Bautista, a former Green Archer standout, revealed he’s joining a firm called FTL International Basketball of Thailand, whose goal is to help schools develop their basketball programs.
The champion coach bared he will be head of basketball operations of Anglo Singapore International School and the Bangkok Patana International School.
The 40-year-old Bautista is leaving his alma mater after leading the Lady Archers to the UAAP title in 2013, two runner-up finishes, and six Final Four appearances during his watch.
Bautista said the lucrative job was offered right after Season 77 by someone from San Beda, where he played high school as one of the top stars of the Red Cubs.
“Basically, what they were offering me is a position where I will handle the basketball programs of a couple of international schools,” he said.
“It’s more of a basketball association na sila ang nagpo-provide ng basketball programs to different international schools. They have hired me to handle two or three international schools for their basketball programs. Under me will be different local coaches and I think they also plan to hire Filipino coaches in the junior level,” Bautista added.
Bautista played for the Green Archers from 1992 to 1996, a stretch that saw the school finish runner-up to University of Santo Tomas three times in a row from 1994-96.
He was later picked by Mobiline in the 1998 PBA Draft, but decided to play in the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) where he suited up for the Batangas Blades (1998-2001) and the Negros Slashers (2002).
Once an assistant to coach Franz Pumaren at La Salle, Bautista was then tapped to coach the La Salle women’s basketball.
Although he is sad to leave the Lady Archers and the Taft-based school for that matter, Bautista said the career move meant a new challenge for him.
“I’ve been in the women’s basketball (team) for six years and assistant with coach Franz for four years so probably it’s time to take on a new challenge. But I didn’t expect it to come from a foreign land. Magandang challenge for me,” said Bautista, who is set to leave for Bangkok anytime to start on his new job.
“It’s sad to leave La Salle. A lot of memories. Marami rin kaming na-achieve as a team and we were able to instill a winning culture sa La Salle. It’s sad but I always think na it’s all about moving forward. I think I’ve done my part sa school and the community.”
Bautista said the new job appealed to him since he’ll have a chance to help grow the sport through high school players in Thailand, a country long known for its passion for football but is slowly been embracing basketball especially in the junior level.
Just recently, the Hi-Tech Bangkok City was crowned the new Asean Basketball League (ABL) champion.
“Years ago, there was really none (basketball leagues in the junior level). Pero now, slowly, nagiging competitive ‘yung mga tournaments especially sa international schools. Parang nagkakaroon na ng mga recruiting pa from provinces,” said Bautista.
“Isa sa mga goals ng association is maka-produce ng players for the national team, the ABL, and the commercial leagues.”
In taking his talent abroad, Bautista said he doesn’t mind sharing his basketball knowledge, even to foreigners or, in this case, a Southeast Asian rival in Thailand.
“Ayokog maging selfish in terms of sharing. If you look at it, hindi nga dito sa atin pero I don’t see it that way. Tinutulungan ko rin na magkaroon ng growth sa sport so that they could love and learn the game,” Bautista related.
“If you look abroad, ‘yung mga coaches, sila-sila mismo, they talk among themselves and share ideas and thoughts. Wala akong nakikitang negative especially na malayong-malayo pa ang Philippines sa kanila. It’s more of sharing what I know about the game and hopefully see na mag-improve sila kahit ‘yung non-Filipinos.”