Chris Gavina is back in the PBA head coaching scene as he takes over as new mentor of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, but that doesn’t mean Caloy Garcia is headed elsewhere.
Under the new set up made by Rain or Shine management, Gavina will be the head coach while Garcia was promoted to his new role as head of basketball operations, team owner Raymond Yu confirmed in a telephone interview.
“When you look at the landscape of basketball now, ibang-iba na,” Yu said. “Kasi ‘yung team, hindi na siya basta team ngayon katulad nu’ng araw na may coach, may assistant, may manager. Ngayon, ang tawag basketball organization na and you need more capable people to do certain tasks.”
Gavina has been involved previously with Kia, working as coach on an interim basis and handled the squad during the times when eight-division world champion and then Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao was coach of the team in 2014.
When Chito Victolero resigned as Kia coach, Gavina returned and coached the team, then joined Rain or Shine to become the team’s coaching consultant in 2018.
Outside of his PBA duties, Gavina also worked as head coach of the Bacoor Strikers in the MPBL, a squad which he led to a solid playoff run two years ago, the same season when he coached Gab Banal in his MVP year.
Banal is now back playing in the PBA for the Alaska Aces.
“I welcome this new challenge,” added Gavina. “One good thing about this organization is we’re like a family, so when I was appointed head coach of the team where I’m already a part of was easy to accept. We’re a playoff contender, but we look forward to winning championships in the future.”
For Gavina, he believes the four draft picks they have in the first and the second round of the coming PBA Rookie Draft would shape up the team’s future.
“Regardless of what’s going to happen on the eligibility of some Fil-Ams, we still believe we can get the best talent at No. 5 and we will fill up the roster with three second-round picks, so that will give us young talents who can build our future.”
The coaching change, according to Yu, proved to be timely, especially now that Garcia is actively involved in the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff as one of the assistant coaches of Jong Uichico.
“Since the Gilas program is designed until 2023, we don’t want all of us to be distracted. He can focus on his assignment as an assistant coach there and as head of basketball operations with us. Caloy can work on the macro management, which is finding ways to improve the team while Chris will be more focused on coaching the team and working on our preparations,” added Yu.
For Garcia, it would be an equally challenging experience as well, especially now that he’s working in the front office.
“We support the management’s decision. For me, this is something new and a new challenge, but at least I’m still connected with basketball and with a much bigger role overseeing the day-to-day operations of the team,” said Garcia.