Microtel Hotel, MOA
June 8, 2013
Oh My Gee!
It was supposed to be a boring day. The sun is back again after a long downpour the night before. This was supposed to be Saturday. A perfect time for an R & R with preggy wifey. And this tiny hotel facing the you-can-have-everything-place like the Mall of Asia and the breath-taking Manila Bay is the best place to spend it. It’s actually our Baby Moon on this particular day.
But as I was unpacking our bags after checking in, there was this Tweet by @jonastsinelas, who is actually Manila Bulletin sport scribe Jonas Terrado, saying La Salle coach Gee Abanilla has been replaced by his top assistant Juno Sauler. Not that I don’t trust Jonas Terrado’s Tweet but we sportswriters has this habit of confirming news not just twice or thrice but multiple times even if the reports are already true just to be sure and correct. So I made the calls.
First one I talked to is Franz Pumaren, former La Salle mentor when Sauler was then an assistant and now coach of Air21 in the PBA. I asked him if he has Sauler’s number. “Nope” was the reply I get. I asked him of his thoughts of Sauler’s recent appointment. His reply: “What do you think?” I actually replied, mind you: “I’m shocked like the rest of us.” Whether or not Pumaren is being sarcastic, he never replied after.
Then I called Abanilla himself. No response. I called an old friend, Jon Hernandez, a former colleague who is now working in the media department of the San Miguel Corp., and asked him his thoughts. He never said anything except ask me back on what do I know. I told him Gee is out, Sauler is in. “Oh.” His response. Then I went straight to Henry Atayde, La Salle’s consultant and representative to the UAAP board.
And there I got a friend.
“Yes its confirmed,” says Atayde.
“Juno Sauler is the new head coach. It was announced to the team this morning (yesterday) by the Brother President Ricky Laguda and Ambassador Danding Cojuangco,” he adds.
So its confirmed. Abanilla has been replaced by Sauler 21 days before Season 76 of the UAAP cage wars unfurls on June 29 at guess where? The MOA Arena, which is actually just 100 steps away from where we’re staying for a night. And then I got a little intrigued. Why replace a coach three weeks before the UAAP? I asked Atayde again, and he says he was authorized to only make this specific statement, nothing less, nothing more. We didn’t push it because La Salle’s decision is theirs to make.
And we will leave it that way for now.
So I ask the bigger question. What will happen with Abanilla at Petron? Rumors swirled around after news broke out about Abanilla getting the Petron head coaching job? Replace Olsen Racela? Wow. We can’t speculate for now because as we speak, all of these are what they are…rumors.
For now, I’ll just enjoy the scenery and the rare rest I get because a few weeks from now, its going to be war again. Only this time, its the collegiate war. And I can’t wait for it.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of Goarchers.com and Juno Sauler)