Good old friends Grospe, Pontejos are here to help out JRU’s first-year coach Lasquety

Good old friends are here to help out JRU’s first-year coach
Ervin Grospe and Paolo Pontejos are, without a doubt, making Gio Lasquety's transition from player to coach a whole lot easier

Just two months after playing his last game as a Heavy Bomber, Gio Lasquety has coached Jose Rizal University to back-to-back wins to begin the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

Of course, the heir apparent of Vergel Meneses felt weird wearing a coach’s collared shirt rather than a player’s jersey – especially as he had played with each and every one of his wards before. “Siyempre, meron pa rin talagang awkward feeling kasi merong mga mas nauna sa ain like sina Pao (Pontejos),” he said.

Still, even though it’s just his very first time calling the shots, Lasquety’s players saw that he was nothing but prepared.

“Kahit baguhan siya, nasa ugali na niya yung maging head coach e. Nung nasa JRU kami, parang siya nga yung coach namin pag nasa court kami,” Ervin Grospe said. “Mataas talaga basketball IQ niya. Dati pa lang, nag-iisip-isip na siyang maging magaling na head coach kaysa player.”

Grospe and Lasquety played together for four years.

Paolo Pontejos, who went to war alongside the rookie mentor for three years as a player, echoed the same sentiment. “May skill talaga siya mag-coach e – mataas basketball IQ niya at yung passion niya para sa coaching, nandyan na talaga,” he said.

Fully behind their former teammate turned coach, Pontejos said they will do anything and everything in their power to make sure Lasquety’s first run is as successful as it could be. “Parehas lang naman sila ng system ni coach Vergel. Binigyan siya ni coach Vergel ng opportunity kaya tutulungan namin siyang ma-prove niyang kaya niyang mag-coach,” he said.

That is true even though they will have to turn down the fun during practices and games just by a bit. Asked if they still josh around with their good old pal and now bench tactician, he answered, “Hindi e. Strict si Gio e. Pag sa court, sa court talaga.”

Grospe could only agree. “Noong una, nakakatawa kasi tropa namin yan tapos ngayon, coach na namin. Pero siyempre, may respeto pa rin,” he said.

He then continued, “Deserve talaga niya kaya mapa-practice o mapa-game, sineseryoso namin.”

In the end, Grospe said he is only proud of their good old friend. As he put it, “Proud ako sa kanya kasi yung dream niya, unti-unti na niyang natutupad.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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