MANILA, Philippines -- After a challenging campaign in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup, the Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort vowed to make some changes moving forward.
Those changes began at the sidelines, and Muntinlupa has tapped current Jose Rizal University (JRU) coach Louie Gonzalez to call the shots for them next season, in hopes of returning to their winning ways.
The signing was formalized last Tuesday, March 10, at the Romulo Cafe in Makati City.
"As you all know, the past season wasn't that good but with the new management and coaching staff, we will regain our glory in the MPBL," said team owner Atty. Jem Sy, as their team finished 13th in the North Division with a 7-23 record.
"Mr. Louie Gonzalez is in charge now. He will recruit outstanding players that will contribute to the team and we will do our best to get the championship next season," he added.
Gonzalez takes over the post previously held by Chico Tirona.
Gonzalez was part of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran coaching staff that steered the Knights to a Cinderella-run to the NCAA title in 2015, and later the De La Salle University coaching staff in its dominant 2016 campaign in the UAAP.
He will be joined by longtime partner Glenn Capacio as his active consultant, while Eddie Laure, Eric Dela Cuesta, Mixson Ramos, Ethel Tacorda, Jeff Mendoza, and Oliver Bautista complete his coaching staff.
"Rest assured, myself and my team will do our best para ibalik 'yung glory ng Muntinlupa Cagers. I think MPBL owes a lot sa team na 'to. In the first season, they really made an impact," said Gonzalez.
"One of the reasons kung bakit ganito kaganda ang MPBL because Muntinlupa started it well. It's a challenge for us na maipabalik 'yun, 'yung suporta ng taga-Muntinlupa sa team na to. That’s the reason for us para magtrabaho nang mabuti," he added.
The team is planning to start from scratch, as they will open slots for everybody through tryouts including the players from last season.
Asked about his vision for the team, Gonzalez targets versatility – a team that can compete with every style in the 31-team league.
"Sa ngayon 'yung plano ko, we need to form a team that’s a little of everything. With MPBL, 30 teams ang nagco-compete diyan, iba-iba talaga ang style. You play a different team day in and day out, kailangan handa kami sa lahat nun," he said.
"Ang target namin is excellence. The opportunity now that we have, nagpe-prepare na kami, nagkaron kami ng maagang opportunity, and we would use this to our advantage," he added.
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