By REYNALD MAGALLON
Expect nothing less than the best from the coaching wits that steered the Letran Knights to three straight championships when coach Bonnie Tan takes a more active role at the NorthPort bench.
Although Tan clarified that there is no formal appointment just yet and he is set to serve as an interim coach for now, the champion mentor said he’s up for the challenge of the PBA as he hopes to help the Batang Pier reach new heights in the upcoming PBA Governors’ Cup.
“If ever mapunta sa PBA sino bang ayaw manalo di ba? So di pa napupuntahan ng NorthPort yung championship sa franchise namin, semis lang pinakamataas pero again wala pa namang (formal appointment) as a team manager yun pa naman din yung wini-wish ko parati,” said the amiable coach
NorthPort’s best showing was during the Governors’ Cup in 2019.
Still, Tan should know a thing or two about winning especially after being undefeated in the three Finals series he was a part of in the NCAA as the Knights complete a three-peat capped by a historic two titles in just a year span in Seasons 97 and 98.
Being with NorthPort since 2013 where he played a role of an assistant and team manager should also bode well for Tan’s adjustments to the new job. After all, he’s not entirely a stranger in handling the team as he already did so when he played stand-in to coach Pido Jarencio who contracted Covid-19 during the 2021 Philippine Cup.
He steered the Batang Pier to three straight wins during that span before Jarencio’s return.
Tan, though, was quick to temper expectations, knowing full well that the professional league is an entirely different beast from the collegiate ranks.
“Only god knows kung ano pwede nating puntahan sa sports na ito. S’yempre yung winning tradition di ko pa maasure kasi ibang iba naman yung college basketball at yung PBA,” said Tan.
As to his Letran job, he will not abandon the school outright, saying his loyalty to school remains as strong as ever.
In fact, he has recommended his assistant Rensy Bajar to call the shots for the Knights next season.