BOYET Fernandez hopes to have a long, fruitful career with NLEX following his successful stint in both the collegiate and amateur ranks.
Currently the head coach of the Road Warriors in the PBA, Fernandez returned to his roots for one night after receiving his NCAA Coach of the Year award during the annual Collegiate Basketball Awards on Thursday night at Kamayan Edsa.
Fernandez was feted with the award for leading the San Beda Red Lions to a fifth straight NCAA men’s titles, including the last two under his watch.
Outside the NCAA, Fernandez also won seven titles with NLEX in the PBA D-League before the Road Warriors bring their acts to the pro league following the purchase of the Air21 franchise prior to the season.
And the young coach from Bacolod could only hope his string of titles in the amateur ranks will also translate into success with NLEX in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“I’m going to miss the NCAA. I know it’s going to be tough there (PBA). I just hope that I will last long there,” Fernandez said after receiving the Coach of the Year trophy from the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps.
Fernandez, who’s in his second coaching stint in the pro league after winning a championship with Sta. Lucia in the 2007-08 season, said his stay with the Red Lions was a memorable one as he will not be where he is right now if not for San Beda.
“This is for San Beda. This is for NLEX,” said Fernandez, referring to the Coach of the Year plum.
“Without NLEX (in the D-League), I won’t be with San Beda. Without San Beda, I won’t be with NLEX,” said Fernandez.
At the same time, the former player also took time to thank his assistant coaches, notably his former head coach at Sta. Lucia Adonis Tierra, and fellow Coach of the Year winner Eric Altamirano, whom he played for during his time with Purefoods, for their influences to his coaching style.
“Hindi naman ako mag-chachampion kung hindi dahil sa mentor ko,” said Fernandez, referring to Tierra.