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A Brief History Of Ginebra's Unpredictable (And Frustrating) Coaching Carousel

Three different coaches in one season—that has to be a record, right?
by Raul Maningat | Jul 27, 2015
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As a by-product of a title drought that began in 2008, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings have found themselves riding a coaching carousel that’s been intensely frustrating for the millions upon millions of the team's ultra-passionate fans.

Or is it the other way around?

Does Ginebra’s nearly seven-year dry spell, which includes only two finals appearances, stem from the management’s impulsive swapping of coaches? To answer that question definitively, we have to wait and see how the PBA’s most popular team will perform under its new chief strategist, the great Tim Cone.

Yep, we know that you’re itching to find out what the legendary tactician can do for the Gin Kings. But the offseason has just started, so in the meantime, have fun by looking back at the confusing reshuffling of coaching personnel that led to Ginebra’s partnership with the two-time Grand Slam champion coach.

To put some sort of order in this mess, we decided to begin with the coach who led Ginebra to their last title-win...


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Tenure: 2006-2011

What happened: He is the longest-tenured Ginebra coach since 2006. He has two titles with the team: the 2006 Philippine Cup and the 2008 Fiesta Conference Cup. Winning a couple of diadems in his first two seasons with GSM, he had the fans and the bosses thinking dynasty. But when he failed to steer the ship towards another championship, he was relegated to an unusual position (more on this in a bit), prompting him to part ways with the franchise after.


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Tenure: 2011-2012 Philippine Cup

What happened: Two heads are better than one might’ve been the concept behind this strange move by Ginebra. But, as expected, it resulted in disappointment. Two head coaches for one team? Come on! That’s a train wreck waiting to happen.

Continue reading below ↓


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Tenure: 2012-2013

What happened: When Tangquingcen finally got to coach Ginebra all by himself for the second time after he led the team to back-to-back titles in the 2004-2005 season, it quickly became obvious that the magic from his championship run had completely faded. The Gin Kings have aged and Tangquingcen didn’t have a budding superstar to help the veterans carry the load. His 2013 Philippine Cup quarterfinals loss to Rain or Shine was his last hurrah with the Barangay.


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Tenure: 2013 Commissioners' Cup

What happened: Chua brought the feistiness back in Ginebra. Together, they made it all the way to the last dance of the 2013 Commissioners' Cup where they lost to a spryer Alaska Aces squad. Known to be a player’s coach and a top-tier motivator, the fans and the Gin Kings' roster seemed to be fine with Alfrancis staying at the helm but management probably got too drunk one night and decided to relieve the long-haired Chua of his coaching duties.

Why, Ginebra, why? What did Alfrancis do wrong? Not shave his head?


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Tenure: 2012-2014

What happened: After surprisingly winning the 2011 Governors' Cup with the Petron Blaze Boosters (now the San Miguel Beermen) in his debut-coaching season, the coach formerly known as the PBA's "Atom Bomb" was tabbed by the Gin Kings to lead them out of the rut and into a championship run.

But chemistry is a big thing in basketball and Ato never seemed to have the same bond with Ginebra as he had with his former team. As a result, Assistant Coach Juno Sauler started taking over as Agustin looked more and more like Manny Pacquiao handing the reins to Kia’s Chito Victolero.

Continue reading below ↓

You know the drill, two coaches manning one teamthat’s a recipe for disaster. Agustin was out of the Barangay after two tumultuous seasons.


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Tenure: 2014 Governors’ Cup up to the 2015 Philippine Cup

What happened: Cariaso was a Tim Cone protégé and so, coming in, lofty expectations were unfairly imposed on him. Like his mentor, the Triangle Offense is Cariaso’s main weapon. But instilling and perfecting the Triangle system has no shortcutsit takes a lot of time.

The players seemed impatient and so did the higher-ups, instant success was what they were after. With two consecutive quarterfinals exits, "The Jet" was forced to take off and fly out of the Ginebra radar.


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Tenure: 2015 Commissioners' Cup

What happened: Bringing Agustin back for a second coaching stint is one of the most mind-boggling developments in the Ginebra coaching circus. Agustin did poorly as the Gin Kings’ headmaster the first time, why would anyone want to see that again? After one hapless conference that saw the team fall in the quarterfinals, Ato was given the pink slip, embarrassingly magnifying Ginebra’s mistake of rehiring the 1992 PBA MVP.


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Tenure: 2015 Governors' Cup

What happened: The many-time NCAA champion coach’s notorious disciplinarian reputation was supposed to unite and ultimately carry the Gin Kings to higher ground. With Lim’s guidance, tweets like Mark Caguioa’s "Dati rati kinakatakutan itong team nato at iniilagan pero ngayon lahat ng team gusto kami kalaban kasi mga tamad and sobrang lalambot" hopefully would no longer be used to describe the team’s makeup.

But the Ginebra curse was too strong. Coach Frankie began his campaign with two of his biggest stars (literally and figuratively), Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, sidelined by injuries. They barely got into the quarterfinals and were finished off swiftly by the Aces. It would’ve been nice to see what Coach Frankie could’ve done if he was given more time. But Ginebra saw the chance to sign Tim Cone, so "F" Frankie Lim’s feelings, says the management.

Continue reading below ↓


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Tenure: 2015 - ?

What will happen: Considering Coach Tim’s credentials, we think he’ll do great as the new Gin Kings bench tactician. That is of course, if he’ll be given enough time to build the team that can bring back Ginebra’s never-say-die pride and glory days. For the sake of Ginebra fans, let's all hope management won't become impatient and fire his ass off after just a conference or two of lackluster performance. He already said it won't be easy, and we agree with him.

If there's one man who can turn things around for Ginebra though, it's Coach Tim. We're quite sure he won't win a championship on his first try given the amount of work that has to be done on the team. However, we're talking about the G.O.A.T of local basketball coaching here. If all goes according to his plans, the drought will end sooner rather than later.

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