By Sid Ventura, Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Teodorico "Boyet" Fernandez III recently joined the coaching staff of the UP Fighting Maroons, who look like they need all the help they can get. Fernandez should provide a some of that given his coaching experience.
Fernandez first broke into public consciousness as a member of the highly touted 1991 Southeast Asian Games gold-medal-winning team, where he was back-up to Johnny Abarrientos. Prior to that, he was part of the National Team that finished seventh in the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC), forerunner of FIBA-Asia. He played college ball for Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod.
He joined the Philippine Basketball Association in 1993 after being drafted by Purefoods. He went on to play for Alaska, Pop Cola and finally Sta. Lucia in an 11-year playing career. By retiring as a player with the Realtors and also coaching the team in its last conference in the PBA, you could say that Fernandez's career has come full circle since he started his amateur career with Sta. Lucia in the old PABL.
His first coaching stint was as an assistant to Alfrancis Chua with the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the PBA, a position he took on shortly after his retirement in 2004. He succeeded Chua as head coach prior to the 2006-07 Fiesta Conference. The following year, he guided the franchise to its first-ever (and now apparently only) PBA title, winning the 2007-08 Philippine Cup. For this, he was named PBA Coach of the Year.
He stayed on as head coach of the Realtors until their recent elimination from the ongoing PBA Fiesta Conference, which will mark the end of their participation in the pro league as Meralco is set to take over their franchise starting next season.
I caught up with Fernandez a few moments after the Maroons dropped a 59-66 decision to the Adamson Falcons, a game which marked the first time he sat on the UP bench as part of the coaching staff.
What exactly is your role with UP?
I am a coaching consultant, at least doon sa mga game plan, at s'yempre alalay ako ni Coach Aboy.
Who approached you to help out UP?
Actually, eliminated na ang Sta.Lucia, and wala akong ginagawa sa bahay. Nag-usap kami ni Coach Aboy. He asked me kung puede akong tumulong sa UP. The opportunity was there, so tutulong ako.
What can you say about the team? What do you see in the team?
Right now, we just missed some shots at the end. But nandoon na eh. Kaunting finetuning lang. I think this is a good team. Ang kailangan lang talaga, more of execution natin sa offense. Fine-tuning lang talaga ang kailangan. Still, it's just two games. We've lost two games, other teams have one loss, so okay lang. Okay pa naman iyon.
How long is your contract with UP?
Well, actually wala akong kontrata, eh. It's more of a…kaibigan ko lang, so tulong lang ako. And hanggang kung kailangan ako tumulong, tutulong ako.
From your coaching perspective, any adjustments you need to make in the coming games?
Well, I have to discuss it with Coach Aboy first. We'll try to look at the tapes tonight, and talk to Coach Aboy and talk about what adjustments we need.
This is your first time to coach at the UAAP level. And you were a PBA veteran. What's the biggest adjustment from the professional level going down to the college level?
Siguro iyong tawagan ng referee. Iba ang tawagan sa UAAP. But in terms of basketball, pareho lang iyan. Amateur, college or PBA, pareho lang iyan na basketball. Limahan pa rin. I've played also in the amateurs before (in the PABL) and in college (for Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod) so hindi naman siguro malayo ang laro.
Photo by Mikey Tan of Maroonsbasketball.com
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