Jong, Gins part ways

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Jong, Gins part ways

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:06 am

Jong, Gins part ways

Published : Thursday, January 12, 2012 00:00

Jong Uichico is parting ways with San Miguel Corp. in the Philippine Basketball Association after more than a decade of partnership that produced eight championships.

Uichico, the calm, soft spoken assistant coach of Ginebra, has joined the Smart-Gilas national training pool of coaches after serving the company as a player and coach.

Uichico cannot be reached for comment yesterday, and the only material available over his departure was the press statement released by the Ginebra San Miguel, Inc.

“With a heavy heart, we are sending coach Jong Uichico to the Philippine men’s basketball team because we feel that the national team is in need of someone like him to improve its performance in international tournaments.

It is the national interest at stake here and we believe that the Philippines will be very fortunate to get the services of a coach with the intelligence and experience of Jong,” saud GSMI President Bernie Marquez.

A reliable source at the Smart-Gilas camp who requested not to be identified, however, revealed that Uichico, who won six championships with San Miguel Beer and two with Ginebra, will be joining a coaching pool where the next national team head coach will be selected.

Uichico will join Chot Reyes of Talk ‘N Text, Ryan Gregorio of Meralco, TNT assistant coach Norman Black, and probably Tim Cone of B-Meg in the pool, according to the source.

“We thank him for providing so many championships, the last two with the Ginebra franchise,” Marquez added.

Uichico has had a celebrated career with the San Miguel firm. He took over the head coaching job of the Beermen when the great Ron Jacobs left the ball club for health reasons, and immediately won back-to-back championships – the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup -- with the franchise in 1999.

He again conquered both tournaments the year after, before winning his first title in a tournament without imports in the 2001 All-Filipino title. In the 2004-05 Fiesta Conference, he again guided San Miguel Beer to the title over Talk ‘N Text.

He later on moved over to Ginebra, and captured titles in the 2006-07 Philippine Cup against San Miguel Beer and the Fiesta Conference the season after.

Uichico never won a championship since then.

But Uichico has had respectable success with the Kings even though the franchise has been described as an ageing roster. In last season’s Commissioner’s Cup, he led Ginebra to a runner-up finish, losing to Talk ‘N Text in six games in the Finals.

Still, Uichico was replaced by Siot Tanquingcen as head coach at Ginebra, although the franchise refused to call it that way, merely suggesting that Tanquingcen and Uichico will share head-coaching duties.

Uichico was part of the Northern Consolidated-sponsored national men’s basketball team under Jacobs. He was also the national head coach of the 2002 Busan Asian Games team, winding up fourth after losing a championship slot berth to South Korea on a last-second three-point shot by Lee Sang Min.


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