THE University of the Philippines has brought in four illustrious alumni to join Bo Perasol in the Maroons coaching staff.
Perasol welcomed the arrival of fellow alum Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Joey Guanio, and Xavier Nunag which he said will boost the Maroons' bid to win their first UAAP championship since 1986.
Perasol, who guided the Maroons to two straight Final Four appearances and a finals berth in his four years at the helm, said he was delighted to be joined by "four outstanding basketball minds who have selflessly agreed to help the team.”
Incidentally, Paras, Magsanoc and Guanio are the stars of that 1986 champion team coached by Joe Lipa.
“The track records of these coaches speak for themselves. They bring with them years of experience both as player and coach – and we believe that with them on board they will be tremendous assets to the program,” said Perasol.
Magsanoc said he was excited about the opportunity to bring another championship to UP.
“If you see how the UP community has come out in support of the boys the past few years, you can’t help but feel that they really deserve it. Kaya marami talagang gustong tumulong sa team,” said Magsanoc, who together with teammate Paras were named among the PBA's 25 Greatest Players.
Renan Dalisay, founding chairman of NowheretogobutUP Foundation, said the UPMBT management team recognized the importance of continuity in the Maroons team but also put premium on improvement.
Perasol faced a lot of heat after the Maroons fell in the Final Four last season.
“UP recognizes that a winning program benefits from continuity, and at the same time acknowledges that we have to continue to find ways to improve––because the other teams are also improving.”
“Under Coach Bo, the team has won more games with each passing season. Our goal when we hired him was to build a winning culture and compete in the Final Four by his third or fourth year with the team,” said Dalisay.
“Kung tutuusin, we are ahead of schedule because last season, we finished third after the eliminations, and we finished second after the eliminations this year, and even surprised everybody by going to the finals last year,” he added.
“That being said, ultimately our objective is to win a championship––and we believe the addition of these coaches will bring us one step closer to that goal.”
Magsanoc has had coaching stints in the PBA with Purefoods and Meralco after leading the San Beda Lions to an NCAA championship in 2013.
Paras is the first PBA player to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season back in 1989, and served as assistant coach with the San Beda Red Lions and Hapee Toothpaste of the PBA D-League.
He is the father of current Maroons star Kobe Paras.
Guanio, another member of the 1986 UP championship team, has likewise served as assistant coach in the UAAP and the PBA D-League, with the National University Bulldogs and Hapee Toothpaste, respectively.
He is currently a technical official of the PBA.
Nunag is the youngest of the four new faces but has had extensive exprience as assistant coach in the PBA (Meralco Bolts, Purefoods), PBA D-League (Hapee Toothpaste), and the NCAA (San Beda Red Lions).