Jong Uichico leaves Barangay Ginebra, national team stint next?

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Jong Uichico leaves Barangay Ginebra, national team stint next?

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:48 pm

Jong Uichico leaves Barangay Ginebra, national team stint next?

January 12, 2012 9:28am

On the heels of tweets from former players wishing Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings co-head coach Joseph “Jong” Uichico well in his future endeavors, Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. (GSMI) issued a press release yesterday announcing the departure of Uichico from their fold, as the multi-titled tactician moves over for a coaching stint with the Philippine national team.

"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 need [sic] 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," GSMI president Bernie Marquez said in the official statement.

It was not made immediately known what Uichico's exact position is, as the coaching situation around the national team remains in flux.

Serbian Rajko Toroman was the head coach of this incarnation of the Philippine national team, but his contract expired after the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, in which he piloted the Smart Gilas squad to a fourth place finish and a jump to the 45th spot in international rankings.

Toroman has yet to be offered a contract extension, though it is also possible that the former head coach of the Iranian men's quintet will be back as a team consultant.

Other possible candidates for the head coach position include Toroman assistants Chot Reyes and Ryan Gregorio, as well as Norman Black, head coach of the Philippine men's basketball team that won gold in the most recent South East Asia Games.

Uichico has plenty of experience with international play, making him an ideal candidate to become an assistant for whoever is eventually hired. Most recently, he was a consultant to the Yeng Guiao coached 2009 FIBA Asia Championship, and before that, was an assistant to the Reyes helmed 2007 FIBA Asia squad. In 2002, he himself coached the country's representatives to a fourth-place spot in the Asian Games.

Up until his decision to leave GSMI, Uichico shared head coaching duties with Siot Tanquingcen. He was also considered a strong candidate for the head coach duties at De La Salle University, a position that was later filled by Gee Abanilla.

News of Uichico's departure was first hinted at on the social networking sites Twitter by some of his former players. Danny Seigle tweeted, "to a man whom i respect very much & who played a huge part in shaping my PBA career, Best of Luck Coach Jong in your future endeavor!" Rudy Hatfield similarly said, "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."


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