Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jong Uichico reportedly joining Smart Gilas

Source : Nelson Beltran (

MANILA, Philippines – Joseph “Jong” Uichico, the eight-time PBA champion coach who steered the national team to fourth place in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, is leaving the SMC Group to join the Smart Gilas Pilipinas pool of coaches.

“He hasn’t got a formal deal yet with Smart Gilas. He’ll talk first to SMC president Ramon Ang. But yes, he’s agreed to help the national team,” said a reliable source.

Uichico is joining Chot Reyes, Ryan Gregorio and Norman Black at Smart Gilas.

B-Meg coach Tim Cone, mentor of the Philippine Centennial team that bagged the bronze medal in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, has also been invited.

Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman has been scratched from the list.

“Coach Rajko will be properly informed. He’s out not because he’s not good. From technical standpoint, he’s very good. The problem is about culture,” said The STAR source.

Apparently, Uichico has already informed the Ginebra players that he’s leaving.

He’s severing his ties with SMC after being with the giant group for over 20 years.

The former national youth and national men’s player first served as assistant coach to Black at San Miguel in 1991.

He later assumed the head coaching position, having his first championship in the 1999 Commissioner’s Cup. He made it back-to-back championships by also winning the succeeding Governors Cup.

He won four more crowns for SMB before being moved over to Barangay Ginebra, the most popular PBA team that he handed two titles.

With eight championships in all, Uichico ranks fourth, behind only Baby Dalupan (15), Tim Cone (12) and Norman Black (10), in the list of coaches with the most number of titles.

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