Manila, Philippines – San Miguel Beer makes its formal return tomorrow, once again retooled and under a new head coach.
Technically, coach Melchor “Biboy” Ravanes is not really taking on the helms for the first time. He did handle the Beermen before on an interim basis when then-coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes was tasked to handle the national squad.
Regardless coach Ravanes feels the pressure and admits that his appointment as head coach was something that caught him by surprise.
“Your guess is as good as mine. Actually, nagulat ako. It changed my timeline (as a coach) but it goes with the territory” says coach Ravanes during an interview yesterday.
And the thought of once again carrying San Miguel Beer further adds pressure to him, admitting that no less than the championship is what management expects from their talent-rich squad.
“We have the most talented lineup in the league. So management expects us to be there hanggang dulo.”
But to do that, he needs to get everyone on the same page. And all that starts with two key players in Arwind Santos and new acquisition Solomon Mercado.
Breaking the Fortress of Sol-titude
While many have doubts on how Mercado could fit in with the Beermen, Ravanes thinks otherwise.
“Sol best fits our system. Alex (Cabagnot) is MVP-caliber but the coaching staff feels that Sol fits our needs better. Kumbaga, ‘When the Going Gets Tough’ tingin naming mas babagay si Sol” he explained
On Sol’s individual talent, he would rather look at the positive side rather than the negative ones.
“Dini-discuss naming mga lahat ng positive and negative about him (Sol). Sa tingin naming, mas marami kaming makukuha na positive from him.”
“As long as maintindihan niya ine-expect namin sa kanya at i-define papel nya sa team, we feel that Sol is a positive addition to the team” Ravanes added.
“Separating the boys from the men! Yun yung naging factor sa pakuha naming kay Sol”.
A More Vocal Spiderman
On Arwind Santos, Ravanes wants their star forward to be more vocal.
“Gusto naming maging vocal siya, maging leader. Kahit sa labas ng court gusto naming ilabas nya pagka-leader niya. On the court expected naman yung production niya (with reference to his usual double-doubles). Being a leader in the group, magandang moving point sa kanya yun and of course for us” he said.
With regards to the team falling short in the crucial rounds, Ravanes admits that they have to improve on their mental toughness.
“Kelangan diyan matatag ka eh, matibay sikmura kumbaga” he said.
“I know it is not an overnight thing pero hopefully we are on the right track. That’s why I tell the boys, that I will really push them hard. We do not have the luxury of time. Kelangan magawa namin as early as possible.”
The complete interview can be read on the April issue of the Manila Bulletin Sports Digest. The interview likewise includes a short interview with new Globalport head coach Alredo “Pido” Jarencio.