Back in August Bo Perasol, Norman Black's heir apparent as ADMU Blue Eagles head coach, was already waiting in the wings for UAAP Season 75 to end and Black to return to the pros. But then Manny Pangilinan, Ateneo basketball's top benefactor, "disengaged" from the university and so Perasol, out of loyalty to his patron, went too. The reigning champs are now officially without a head coach.
Here's the formal announcement, from the Ateneo de Manila FB page:
Fr Jett Villarin, Ateneo de Manila University President met with Mr Bo Perasol yesterday where it was mutually agreed upon to release each other from the obligations stipulated in a previously concluded contract. No decision has yet been made as to the replacement of Norman Black, head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.Ateneo now gets a second opportunity this year to get homegrown talent to replace Black, and I hope that's what the university eventually does. Coach Norman's top deputies like Sandy Arespacochaga (who was the Blue Eagles head coach the year before Black took over in 2005) and Jamike Jarin (who won multiple UAAP Juniors' basketball titles as head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets) should be top candidates for the now-vacant job for there to be some semblance of continuity in the program. But things are a little complicated because the two are also Black's assistant coaches in a Pangilinan-owned team in the pros.
I hope it's Arespacochaga who gets picked. If I'm not mistaken he has been an Ateneo coach for over a decade now, and he was already playing for the Blue Eagles when I got to college. I know loyalty shouldn't be the be-all and end-all in picking the next head coach, but it should still count for something.
Some may remember that Arespacochaga was at the helm during the "unsuccessful" (read: Ateneo wasn't the champion, haha) Season 67. But I don't think the team's brain trust intended for him to be head coach beyond that one year.
Like I wrote here, the Blue Eagles were in transition then—Joel Banal (head coach in 2002-2003) had left after Season 66, and while Black (head coach in 2005-2012, consultant in 2004) was already under contract, he probably needed time to acclimate to the UAAP and install his system. The solution: make Arespacochaga head coach for a year then have Black take over in 2005.
But that's just me speculating. In no way am I a team insider, haha.
On another front, Fr. Villarin has established a Basketball Endowment Fund to provide for the operations of Ateneo's Men's, Women's and Juniors' basketball programs. Blue Eagles fans—they with the bragging rights for the past five years and counting—can now put their money where their mouth is and donate to the fund. Parang Kickstarter!
I bet this will raise a lot of hubbub, with people claiming that the university focuses on just one sport to the detriment of others. But there's more to this thing than meets the eye. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out it's from Men's basketball (the "glamor" sport since—surprise!—it gets the widest media coverage in this hoops-mad country) that the university sources funds for its other sports programs.
[26 November 2012]
With Ateneo and Manny Pangilinan reconciling, Bo Perasol is back as Norman Black's successor and head coach of the Blue Eagles.