Jong leaves SMC

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Jong leaves SMC

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:08 am

Jong leaves SMC

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 20:18 Joel Orellana / Reporter

ANOTHER long partnership in Philippine basketball has just ended.

Jong Uichico, an eight-time champion coach in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), officially broke ties with San Miguel Corp. (SMC) after close to 30 years of serving the company, both as a player and a coach.

He informed SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang on Tuesday regarding his decision to leave the company. He met the Barangay Ginebra players and coaching staff on Wednesday morning to bid farewell.

Uichico, who served as the Kings’ co-head coach with Siot Tanquingcen, will be bringing his talent to the national basketball team program.

Danny Seigle, who started his career in the PBA in 1999 with San Miguel under Uichico, confirmed the news via Twitter.

“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,” Seigle said.

In a radio interview, Ginebra point guard Jayjay Helterbrand, who won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award two seasons ago with Uichico as the Kings’ coach, said he was saddened with the development.

“I was kind of surprised. I don’t think coach Jong does not deserve to be an assistant coach, so sad to see him go,” he said.

Uichico was a member of the youth team that was supported by former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. in the early 1980s and was eventually absorbed in the Northern Cement Consolidated squad under coach Ron Jacobs.

He won eight titles in the PBA, six with San Miguel Beer (now Petron Blaze), where he started his coaching career in 1999, and two with Ginebra.

Before this season, Uichico was “demoted” to “co-head coach” of the Kings and shared the coaching chores with Tanquingcen. Ginebra was swept by Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup.

Ginebra team governor Robert Non and Tanquingcen were not available for comment on Wednesday.

Uichico will be joining the Smart Gilas 2 program of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

Smart Gilas operations head Butch Antonio said Uichico is being considered for the Gilas coaching pool from where the head coach will be picked.

Coaching the national pool is not new to Uichico. He handled the Philippine squad in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.

Last year Tim Cone left Alaska after spending 22 years with the Uytengsu franchise.

Ginebra San Miguel Inc. President Bernie Marquez wished Uichico well in his new endeavor.

“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,” said Marquez in a statement.

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

Source: Businessmirror

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