BIÑAN, Laguna – Jong Uichico barely had difficulty adjusting to the MPBL game as he guided the Bataan Risers to a comfortable 75-62 triumph over the Biñan City-Krah Heroes Monday night at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
A nine-time PBA champion coach, Uichico relied on ball movement and team play to create the Risers’ identity. Three players stood out – former collegiate standouts Joe Presbitero from San Beda and Anton Assistio from Ateneo and returning guard James Castro.
Presbitero tallied 16 points on top of seven rebounds while Castro, who played for Bataan, then owned by BaiShipping, added 14 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Asistio, a member of back-to-back champions Ateneo Blue Eagles under coach Tab Baldwin, added 13, including three triples.
Uichico, who won championships as coach of San Miguel, Ginebra and TNT, last handled a team in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games as he led the Gilas Cadet-laden national squad to a gold medal finish.
In his first game in the MPBL, the veteran bench tactician had to make adjustments.
“This is something new. There’s not much teaching to do as you have no control of what’s happening at times. It’s a free-flowing game,” said Uichico. “But I have to adjust. I need to rely on team play, ball movement, hoping we could go through from there as we still don’t have go-to guys in the team.”