Worry not, JRU, coach Vergel Meneses’s heir apparent is here

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 25, 2018 04:36 PM
Worry not, JRU, coach Vergel Meneses’s heir apparent is here
Gio Lasquety is a winner in his first outing as head coach

For the first since 2009, Jose Rizal University has won a game without Vergel Meneses on the sidelines.

The Philippine basketball legend and eight-year Heavy Bombers mentor was not at Pasig’s Ynares Arena on Thursday to see his team roast Mila’s Lechon to commence their campaign in the PBA D-League.

Gio Lasquety officially became the youngest head coach in the history of the league – and at the end of the game, he became the youngest head coach to score a win in the history of the league.

This, just two months after playing his last game in blue and gold.

“Syempre sobrang sarap. Mas masarap pa ‘to dun sa paglalaro kasi ako nagga-guide sa kanila,” he told reporters afterward.

Lasquety was named playing-assistant coach by Meneses before the NCAA season a year ago

Then, the latter called the former “future head coach of JRU.”

Now in the 2018 Aspirants Cup, he was surprisingly put in as head coach for the Heavy Bombers.

Of course, the 24-year-old just graduated student-athlete is thankful for the continued trust of his mentor. “Siguro, blessing lang sa akin. Ako naman kasi, kahit nung simulang maging player niya (coach Vergel) niya ako, sinusunod ko lang yung pinapagawa niya,” he said.

And for that, he only wants to return the favor. “Sinabi lang sa akin ni coach Vergel, kung ano yung natutunan ko sa kanya, yun ang i-apply ko. Yun na nga yung gagawin ko rito,” he said.

Meneses has compiled a record of 83-68 (81-61 in the elimination round) and has delivered five playoff appearance for his alma mater.

Indeed, whenever he decides to call it a day as head coach for JRU, his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

The good news for Shaw Boulevard is that, even now, Meneses is already preparing for that time just as Lasquety, his heir apparent, is already preparing for that time.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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