Uichico leaves Ginebra, joins SMART-Gilas

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Uichico leaves Ginebra, joins SMART-Gilas

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Uichico leaves Ginebra, joins SMART-Gilas
Reynaldo Belen and Jaemark Tordecilla, InterAKTV · Wednesday, January 11, 2012 · 6:50 pm

After two decades, Jong Uichico is saying goodbye to the San Miguel Corporation.

Various SMC players and officials announced the departure of Uichico, a co-coach of Barangay Ginebra, from the group. Multiple sources told InterAKTV that Uichico is taking a position as part of the staff of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program.

Rumors of Uichico’s transfer swirled around on various social networks early Wednesday. Sources told InterAKTV that it was a done deal, but Uichico had wanted to hold off on the announcement until after his meeting with SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.

Noli Eala, the sports director of the group, made an announcement on his Twitter account. “SMC is sad to see Coach Jong go after almost two decades with the group. But we wish him all the best. We are confident he will help the national cause,” wrote Eala.

But even prior to Eala’s posting, several former players already wrote about Uichico’s departure.

“To a man whom I respect very much and who played a huge part in shaping my PBA career, best of luck Coach Jong in your future endeavor!” wrote Danny Seigle, who began his career in the league under the auspices of Uichico with the San Miguel Beermen.

Rudy Hatfield, who is making his comeback with Ginebra, wrote: “Come back and get hit with the news that Coach Jong has parted ways with us. Great man. Great coach. Thanks, Coach, for being great for us.”

According to a source close to the Uichico camp, the coach asked for permission last Monday from San Miguel Corporation chairman Danding Cojuangco, who had been his principal for most of his basketball career. Uichico was part of a La Salle squad in college in the 1980s that was backed by Cojuangco, before joining the businessman’s Northern Consolidated national basketball program. Later, Uichico became an assistant coach for San Miguel and the head coach at La Salle before taking over the coaching reins of the Beermen.

With his loyal ties to Cojuangco, observers said that Uichico has been lost in the shuffle in the San Miguel basketball operations group, which has been dominated by people close to Ang.

Multiple sources confirmed that Uichico will be joining the SMART-Gilas program as an assistant coach.

Uichico is no stranger to international competition. Apart from representing the Philippines as a player as part of the NCC program, he coached the national team to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, Korea. He also served as an assistant for Chot Reyes’ team to the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship in Tokushima, Japan, and was a consultant for Yeng Guiao for the national team to the 2009 edition of the event.

The head coaching spot of SMART-Gilas is still vacant, with incumbent coach Rajko Toroman still in Serbia without a contract renewal offer. Other candidates for the spot include Chot Reyes of Talk ‘N Text, Ryan Gregorio of Meralco, and Norman Black of Ateneo.

Source: Interaksyon.com

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