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PBA: 3 names eyed for Agustin’s assistant

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Several names for the post of assistant coach are reportedly being considered at Barangay Ginebra San Miguel after speculative news broke out last week that Kings mentor Jeffrey Cariaso is on his way out after two conferences at the helm, with Ato Agustin set to reclaim his old job.

This latest report adds fuel to rumors that another major coaching change is in the offing at Ginebra.

Cariaso took over from Agustin after last season’s Commissioner’s Cup but failed to advance the Kings past the quarterfinals in the ensuing Governors’ Cup, getting ousted by Alaska, and in the playoffs of the current Philippine Cup, getting drubbed in the knockout phase by Talk ‘N Text.

His insistence at applying the triangle offense, Tim Cone’s main philosophy at Alaska and Purefoods (formerly San Mig Super Coffee), has, a source said, sparked tension between Cariaso, who played for Cone with the Aces and was part part of the Mixers’ coaching staff, and several players, including Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand, who preferred a more uptempo and free-flowing game that allowed them more leeway to improvise and go one-on-one.

A Ginebra insider said names that have cropped up include that of Purefoods assistant Jason Webb, San Miguel Beer’s Boysie Zamar and, interestingly, former San Beda coach Frankie Lim.

“Webb played for Coach Al (Chua, now Ginebra’s alternate governor and team manager) before while Zamar used to be part of the Kings coaching staff prior to Cariaso coming aboard,” said the insider. “Coach Frankie has also been mentioned, among a few more others.”

Lim, who served as Talk ‘N Text team manager before moving to Smart Gilas as top management representative in 2010, coached the Red Lions to four NCAA championships before stepping down two years ago.

Chua is set to return today from a holiday vacation and is expected to immediately tackle Cariaso’s tenure.

Originally, the source said, announcement of Cariaso’s replacement was to be made on Jan. 5 although an earlier decision has already been finalized. Reports that came out in the social media pre-empted the plan however.

Where Cariaso will land in the eventuality remains unclear although returning to Purefoods with Cone is a strong possibility.

“Hindi na siguro siya [Cariaso] puwede mag-stay sa Ginebra kasi nga me problema sila nong ibang players,” the source said.

Agustin, on the other hand, has coached Petron previously to a championship on his first season in 2011 before moving to Ginebra where he lost a 7-game battle with San Mig Super Coffee in the 2014 Philippine Cup semifinals.