Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) named Jong Uichico as one of the consensus choices to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff for the November window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.

/ 14 October 2020

“With his experience, he should be part of the coaching staff,” said SBP special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio on Tuesday.

The 58-year-old coach is among those being considered to take a role in the Gilas staff that will be without Mark Dickel and other coaches that are currently inside the PBA bubble.

“If there is one name that we both agreed on, coach Tab (Baldwin) and myself, together with the hierarchy of the SBP, it’s coach Jong,” Gregorio added.

Uichico is currently the head of SBP’s coaches’ academy and is no stranger to the job. He then took the helm for the national team thrice, the last as head coach of Sinag Pilipinas in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The Nine-time PBA champion coach, then an assistant to Chot Reyes, was suspended for his role in the Gilas-Australia brawl but returned to the Gilas program as deputy to Tim Cone in the side that captured the gold medal in the 30th SEA Games last year in Manila.

Gilas’ interim coach Dickel, who is now the team consultant for TNT, alongside Phoenix coach Topex Robinson and Tropang Giga assistant Sandy Arespacochaga are all inside the PBA bubble in Clark.

Meanwhile, Alex Compton, went back to the US to settle there with his family.

“Remember in our last window, we had coach Mark Dickel represent us as the head coach together with his coaching staff, but right now because of the [schedule] conflict [with the PBA], we are respecting of course his priorities with TNT,” he said.

Now, SBP is still looking for available coaches who are not part of the PBA bubble, Gregorio said.

“And for that reason, we’re looking at guys who are not part of the bubble, and that staff who might be able to help us in the coming window.”

Gregorio, however, said that building a competent coaching staff for Gilas still depends on the guideline and provisions that the national team can work with, based on what the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases will permit.

“We have to wait also for the clearance from the IATF, so you might as well wait a little bit longer in identifying the kind of coaches that we want in our team,” he said.