The Roxas Vanguards will have one of their own calling the shots when they compete in the Mindanao leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup as they have tapped former Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) MVP Eddie Laure to be their head coach.
Laure, now 43 years of age, explained that he did not hesitate to take the job considering that he hails from Dipolog and team owner, Mayor Jan Vallecer, is a childhood buddy of his.
"Unang-una kasi is taga dito ako. Pangalawa, yung team owner namin magkaibigan kami," said Laure, who rose to prominence during the heyday of the defunct MBA where he was named MVP during the 2001 season while playing for the Batangas Blades.
"Siyempre, gusto ko din dito muna mag-stay habang pandemic tapos na-timing na nagbuo siya ng team. Ako yung tinawagan niya at hindi na ko nagdalawang isip na kunin yun," added Laure.
This will be Laure's first head coaching job after serving as an assistant at the University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, Jose Rizal University, and Laguna in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Laure will have several experienced players helping him out in 6-foot-4 bruiser Chito Jaime and former NCAA MVP Leo Najorda.
"Malaking factor yung Najorda at yung Jaime dahil tinitingala sila ng mga bata," said Laure.
Streaky guard JK Casino has also been handed the keys to the Vanguards' backcourt.
Other players tapped by the Vanguards are Arellano Chiefs transferee Jordan Sta. Ana, Lester Reyes, Jordan Intic, Joshua Templo, Marr Rifarial, RJ Deles, James Castro, Francis Camacho, and Roy Velasco. Completing the team is 6-foot-8 Fil-Libyan Seraj Elmejrab. Elmejrab played for the Laguna Pistons in the NBL-Pilipinas.
"Sa amin kasi, inaangatan namin kumuha ng players dahil ayaw natin mahaluan ng players na hindi sumusunod sa sistema. Wala rin kaming star players," said Laure, who will have Cebuano Edsel Vallena serving as one of his assistants.
"Yung team namin, kailangan sama-sama talaga, depensa muna bago ang opensa. Yung team namin lalaban ng palitan ng muka. Yan yung pinaghahandaan namin dahil malalim yung field."
Vallecer set lofty goals for his team, saying that he wants the team to compete in the finals. But for Laure, he is taking it one step at a time.
"Gusto talaga ni Mayor na mag-champion. Sabi ko nga, umpisahan muna natin sa practice at kung ano outcome nito, dun natin mage-gauge kung saan tayo makakarating."
League officials though are still finalizing on the venue for the Mindanao leg. The ongoing pandemic has forced the league to start its Mindanao leg on the week of June 12-18. (JNP)