Magic of coach­ing

Sun.Star Davao - - TOP SPORTS -

IN ev­ery cham­pi­onship se­ries, our main fo­cus should be on the be­hav­ior of coaches. More to the point, on how the coaches strate­gize, map out game plans and ex­e­cute tac­tics to achieve the ul­ti­mate goal: Suc­cess.

How­ever, coaches can­not at­tain vic­tory at all times. They win some, they lose some. No­body’s per­fect.

A good coach should know that in any win scored in a team game, the credit chiefly goes to the play­ers.

And, in any de­feat suf­fered in a team game, the blame is mainly pinned on the coach.

In my years, decades, of be­ing a sports writer, I have seen but only one coach who, af­ter a de­feat, would im­me­di­ately tell his play­ers in the dugout: “Do not be sad. It’s all my fault. Blame me.”

That dis­tinc­tion goes to Tommy Man­otoc, who gave the fa­bled Crispa Red­man­iz­ers their sec­ond PBA Grand Slam in 1983 af­ter the late Baby “The Maestro” Dalu­pan pi­loted Crispa to its maiden Slam in 1976.

We are now en­joy­ing the on­go­ing best-of­seven Finals of the PBA Com­mis­sioner’s Cup. Dead­locked at one win apiece.

Barangay Gine­bra shocked San Miguel Beer in Game One 127-99 but the Beer­men coun­tered with a 134-109 vic­tory in Game Two over the Gin Kings.

With both re­sults def­i­nitely de­fined as ruth­less routs, what might have caused the shock­ers to hap­pen?

How could a team (Gine­bra) lose by 25 points when only 48 hours ago, it had beaten the same squad (San Miguel Beer) by 28 points?

The magic of coach­ing it is called.

Gine­bra coach Tim Cone used the am­bush ap­proach right at the buzzer in Game One to quickly col­lect piles of points on blaz­ing drives and fast­breaks, com­pletely catch­ing San Miguel Beer off-guard.

Amaz­ingly, SMB used the same strat­egy, with Beer­men coach Leo Aus­tria mod­i­fy­ing his First Five by start­ing Alex Cabag­not in­stead of the usual Ar­wind San­tos.

It clearly paid off, Cabag­not ca­vort­ing com­pletely unchallenged in his dare­devil drives and deadly shots from afar to score a ca­reer-high 22-point first-half points en route to a game-high 33 points.

If the first two games’ plots and re­sults were that in­ter­est­ing enough, what can we ex­pect from Aus­tria and Cone in Game Three Wed­nes­day?

Now that’s an­other coach’s work worth watch­ing.

AL S. MEN­DOZA

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