WHY did Rain or Shine take the reins from coach from Caloy Garcia and give it to erstwhile deputy Chris Gavina one month before the PBA 46th season?
Elasto Painters co-owner Raymond Yu said Garcia’s job as an assistant coach with Gilas Pilipinas partly led to their decision.
“We considered his (Garcia’s) long-term involvement with Gilas and we don’t want it to be a distraction,” Yu was quoted as saying by the pro league’s official website.
“So, we have to make things workable for all of us,” he added.
Gavina, 42, took over from Garcia last Monday, with the latter staying on as active consultant and head of basketball operations.
Yu, who co-owns the squad with Terry Que, said despite the coaching change, Gavina and Garcia will still work together.
“Saan ka nakakita na isang organization na nagpalit ng head coach pero magkakasama pa rin sila? This is to address the new landscape of basketball,” Yu said.
“Coach Caloy will take care of the macro and see and find ways on how to improve the team while coach Chris will take care of the micro, which means he’ll be calling the shots in the game and preparations of the team.”
Gavina readily accepted the challenge of steering Rain or Shine to its first title since the 2016 mid-season Commissioner’s Cup under Yeng Guiao.
“One good thing about this organization is we’re like a family, so when I was appointed head coach of the team where I’m already a part of, it was easy to accept,” Gavina said.
“We’re a playoff contender, but we look forward to winning championships in the future.”
In last year’s Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, the Elasto Painters finished with a 6-5 card after the elimination round.
Rain or Shine was eliminated by eventual champions Ginebra in their quarterfinals battle.
Gavina will pin his hopes on young stars Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon, and veterans James Yap, Gabe Norwood, and Beau Belga.
The team sent Sidney Onwubere and Clint Doliguez to NorthPort in exchange for big man Bradwyn Guinto last January and did not renew the contracts of guards Ryan Araña and Kris Rosales last month.
The E-Painters will be selecting No. 5 overall in the rookie draft set on March 14 likely to be held virtually due to the restrictions posed by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine-born but United States-raised Gavina maintained the squad is out to pick the best available talent in the first round and will get upstarts to rebuild.
“Regardless of what’s going to happen on the eligibility of some Fil-Ams, we still believe we can get the best talent at No. 5,” he said. “We will fill up the roster with three second round picks, so that will give us young talents who can build our future.”