From the Lab: Chris Gavina's unconventional way to the PBA

Paul Lintag on Apr 13, 2017 02:28 PM
From the Lab: Chris Gavina's unconventional way to the PBA
Before finding his way in the PBA, Chris Gavina spent some time working for one of the biggest cosmetic companies in the world as a chemist.

Technically, Chris Gavina is not an actual PBA head coach, he's actually Mahindra's top assistant.

But since Senator and WBO Welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao, the team's real head coach, is busy doing... well stuff, let's just go ahead and name coach Chris as the head coach of the Floodbuster.

Not just any coach mind you, but one of the best young minds in the country today. 

Like most basketball people, Gavina's basketball journey started way back.

Unlike most basketball people, Gavina took a major detour before finding himself in the PBA.

What kind of detour you ask? Don't worry, it's not something tragic or whatever. He just had to do some regular 9-to-5 for almost a decade.

Okay, not a regular 9-to-5 because being a formulation chemist for L'Oreal is not exactly regular.

You see, coach Chris Gavina graduated with a degree in Chemical Biology.

After he grew tired of the lab and realized he didn't want to spend too much time in school to pursue medicine, he decided to continue his basketball journey back here in the Philippines.

 

A SOLID START

Gavina actually had a decent college career, playing for Stevens Tech in the US.

In fact, he did well enough that he had his jersey number 30 retired by the school after his graduation in 2001.

"I played basketball at Stevens Tech in Hoboken, New Jersey. I finished second all-time in scoring and got my jersey retired. I'm also part of the Hall of Fame there now and you know, basketball's always just been in my DNA," Gavina told ABS-CBN Sports.

After Stevens Tech, Gavina worked for L'Oreal for about six years.

The question of whether or not he got some free stuff during his stay with the French cosmetics company was not asked. Sorry.

 

COMING HOME

Born to Filipino parents before moving to the States when he was young, Gavina made the decision to come back home to once again pursue basketball.

Upon arriving in 2008, Gavina played for the now-defunct Liga Pilipinas before he ended up transitioning into a coach.

"I went and got my strength and conditioning certification," he said.

"I got my first coaching job with the [Philippine] Patriots under coach Glenn Capacio as a strength and conditioning coach and he took me along when he went to Globalport and also as he became the head coach of Kia," he added.

From then on, Gavina basically paid his dues and climbed the coaching ladder, culminating with his current job with Mahindra after replacing the now-Star coach Chito Victolero in 2016.

"I went from strength and conditioning to skills coach, defense coach, so I learned from a lot of great coaches and paid my dues and learned, do what I'm asked. It was great to be a follower before I had to become a leader. It helped me really establish myself as a head coach," he said.

 


NO REGRETS

If you ask Gavina if he ever misses the L'Oreal life, his answer would be pretty simple.

His answer would be no, he does not miss it. At all.

"There's nothing I would exchange being a head coach for. The amount of level of stress that you have when you're involved in a bigger purpose and with a team goes far beyond than when you have deadlines at a 9-to-5 and you have bosses breathing down your neck to finish your projects," Gavina said.

"For me there was no heart behind it," he added.

Like most basketball people, Gavina's basketball journey started way back.

Unlike most basketball people, Gavina took a major detour before finding himself in the PBA.

That's your life lesson to take from all of this. If you choose to.

"I was pre-med. I didn't see myself going to school for so long before medicine so I decided to become a chemist and you know, it wasn't really my calling but  I wound up finding it," Gavina said.

 


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Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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