UNIVERSITY of the Philippines is sticking with its earlier decision to hire Rey Madrid as its head coach despite strong opposition from the alumni community.
UP College of Human Kinetics (CHK) Dean Ronualdo Dizer confirmed on Wednesday the school has officially named Madrid as the head coach. In fact, Dizer said Madrid has already presided over the Maroons' practice on Tuesday.
Dizer believes that Madrid is the right man for the job as his hiring went through a stringent selection process with school officials being involved in the screening.
“At the end of the day, the selection committee did its job and we believed that we put the best coach possible to handle the UP basketball team,” said Dizer, one of two UP representatives in the UAAP board.
Dizer confirmed that the CHK made a recommendation to stick with Madrid, which was named interim head coach after Ricky Dandan was relieved from his post in the middle of UAAP Season 76.
The CHK’s recommendation was also approved by UP Chancellor Caesar Saloma.
Ironically, Madrid's appointment was made official on the same day word leaked out that Maroons great Ronnie Magsanoc, a member of the school's only champion team in the UAAP, has joined Ateneo's coaching staff as an assistant to another UP alumnus, Bo Perasol.
Dandan is also part of Perasol's staff.
The decision to stay with Madrid has encountered strong opposition from the alumni community, with some officials of the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) threatening to quit if the appointment was made official, sources said.
The UPAA has even asked UP president Alfred Pascual to reconsider the hiring and go for Allan Gregorio, who reportedly got commitments of support from telecommunications magnate Manny V. Pangilinan and Air21 owner Bert Lina.
Gregorio also enjoys the support of the alumni, sources said, as they believe the backers are capable of helping the lowly Maroons reclaim lost glory in a league where it won its only championship in 1986.
The appeal apparently went for naught as Dizer made it clear that ‘monetary considerations’ was not part of the equation in the selection of a coach.
“Ang aming gustong foundation dito is hindi monetary. We are a state university and if our desire is to be competitive, monetary is not the solution,” Dizer said.
Dizer, however, understands the opposition to Madrid’s hiring.
“We understand that lahat naman ng grupo want to protect the school and its interest. Pero dumaan ang lahat sa proseso,” said Dizer.
Before he took over the Maroons last year, Madrid was UP’s head coach in the early 1990s before becoming one of the managers of the basketball squad.
The Maroons, however, have only won three games in the last three years including an 0-14 win-loss record last season.
Dizer hopes the final decision to retain Madrid will end division within the UP community as the team moves on to prepare for the UAAP.
“At least, we are now one again,” said Dizer.