The return of Cebuano hoops legend Dondon Hontiveros to the PBA, albeit as an shooting consultant and assistant coach for the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, has gotten off to a fantastic start.
The 43-year old joined the Fuel Masters’ workout sessions prior to the stoppage caused by the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the National Capital Region and its neighboring areas. Six years removed from his last playing year back in 2015 with the Alaska Aces, Hontiveros has now joined the Phoenix bench and is excited about the possibilities.
“It feels good. I am excited. When I was playing, I would make sure I would know every detail leading to the game and let my teammates know what to expect or what I thought. I remember coach Luigi was the first one to tell me that I could be a coach/assistant when I retire because I would always talk to my teammates,” shared Hontiveros, who is also a councilor in the second district of Cebu City.
Hontiveros added that he really enjoys being on this side of the team now and is learning as much as he could during the meetings with the coaching staff.
“And now na consultant/assistant coach nako sa PBA, the meetings with the coaches is something I really like. You get to listen to their ideas and learn. Though I have the most experience as a player, they have the most experience preparing a team,” added Hontiveros.
With Phoenix establishing itself as a title contender in the previous Philippine Cup, the Fuel Masters are not resting on its laurels. They’re now leaning on the former national team gunner to help develop the players’ skills and shooting accuracy.
During his heyday, Hontiveros was one among the league's most prolific outside shooters. He ranks fourth in the all-time three-point field goals made with a total of 1,002. He was also a former three-point shootout champion, a Mythical Second Team member, a recipient of the Samboy Lim Sportsman award, and a 13-time All-Star.
"He's to focus on skills development and of course, shooting," Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia said on the PBA’s official website.
"He was not able to stay for a long period, but nakapag-practice na siya," said Bugia, who relayed that Hontiveros was able to work with the backcourt of Matthew Wright and Chris Banchero.
Hontiveros is set to work with the Fuel Masters for a much longer period of time once the Covid-19 situation improves in the NCR.
"If may opportunity, maybe after this ECQ. Next cycle kung makapag-test siya and he comes back, maybe sa kabilang grupo naman siya puwedeng iikot," Bugia added. (JNP)