Jan 13, 2021

Garcia grateful to be part of Gilas anew

CALOY Garcia admitted being taken by surprise when the offer came his way again to become part of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff.

But like any other coaches, it's one great opportunity the Rain or Shine coach welcomes with open arms.

"Oo nagulat ako kasi sa dami ng coaches ako ang nabigyan ng opportunity. So I have to grab that," said Garcia, who is now in the Calamba bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy along with the rest of the national team coaching staff under Jong Uichico and Gilas Pilipinas project director Tab Baldwin.

The veteran 45-year-old Garcia of course, is nothing new to coaching at the national team level.

He was the lead deputy of Yeng Guiao when Gilas Pilipinas campaigned in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, the World Cup qualifiers, and subsequently the FIBA World Cup tournament proper itself held in China two years ago.

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As the national team transitions, Garcia thought his Gilas stint is likewise over.

But a tempting offer from Baldwin to become part of the coaching staff again came his way just shortly after 2021 ushered in.

"I'm happy na sinama ako because I get to learn a new system under coach Tab," said Garcia, who referred to the 62-year-old Baldwin as one of the best coaches internationally.

Garcia, a product of St. Benilde, was named part of the coaching staff along with champion coach Norman Black of Meralco. Together, they will join regular members Sandy Arespacochaga, Boyet Fernandez, and Alton Lister

"I'm there to help them also and at least give them my (coaching) thoughts," said the veteran mentor who's born to a Spanish father and a Filipina mother.

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After going through a bubble in the last PBA Philippine Cup, Garcia said he's ready to undergo a similar experience, albeit a shorter one, for the sake of national interest.

He's likewise grateful to represent anew the Rain or Shine franchise at the national team level.

"I asked the permission of Boss Raymund (Yu) and Terry (Que) and pumayag naman sila," he said of the two amiable co-owners of the Elasto Painters. "Anything for the national team, we'll do anything to make it there."

Gilas Pilipinas will train in the Calamba bubble for one month before seeing action in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers set Feb. 18 to 21 at Clark in Pampanga.(RG)