By JONAS TERRADO
Veterans Norman Black and Yeng Guiao and youthful Nash Racela were named as coaches of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will face three All-Star squads in next week’s PBA All-Star festivities in Davao, Batangas and Iloilo.
The three mentors will take over from Gilas coach Chot Reyes as the national squad dubbed the Smart-PBA All-Stars hopes to impress the fans in the May 23 to 27 games, the second straight year the league implements a three-leg format for the midseason showcase.
Black is tasked to call the shots for the Nationals in the first leg against the Mindanao selection handled by Tim Cone on May 23 in Digos, Davao del Sur before Guiao takes over on the 25th against coach Leo Austria and the Luzon All-Stars in Batangas City.
Racela makes his first All-Star appearance as coach on the final leg of the All-Star series on the 27th in Iloilo City opposite the Visayas team of coach Chito Victolero.
It will be the first time that Black gets to coach in an All-Star Game since 1997 when he steered the Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors team to a 126-123 win over the Robert Jaworski-mentored Veterans squad at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Guiao, on the other hand, makes his second All-Star appearance in three seasons, having guided the North All-Stars past their Southern counterparts, 154-151, two years ago at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.