Magpayo on coaching in the Philippines: 'That's my dream'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 23, 2020 01:38 PM
Magpayo on coaching in the Philippines: 'That's my dream'
(Photo courtesy of UC Riverside)

The Philippines now has a new US NCAA team to root for in University of California-Riverside.

Why is that? In Filipino-American Mike Magpayo, the Highlanders have installed the first-ever head coach with Asian descent in the 114-year history of the US NCAA Division 1.

With the youthful mentor at the helm, UC-Riverside has grand plans of continued contention and even winning the Big West Conference to be part of March Madness.

While Magpayo is nothing but upbeat about their chances, he also knows full well that nothing is guaranteed.

Fortunately for him, his homeland is already beckoning. "I always joked - well, not joke since I always say it's gonna happen one day - that when I get fired, we're going to try and get a job in the Philippines," he said in last Thursday's Coaches Unfiltered.

His parents were born and bred in the Philippines and remain proud of their roots.

That pride has only been passed on to the Highlanders' first-year head coach who has already stated that he will answer the call whenever Philippine basketball needs him. Asked if he is interested in coaching in the Philippines, whether it be the national or club or collegiate teams, he answered, "That's my dream. Number one, I'd love to just be a part of it."

He then continued, "I've always told (former Gilas Pilipinas assistant) Josh Reyes that, 'Hey, if you need help, I'd love to just help.'"

Magpayo's parents are, of course, proud of him making history in the US NCAA.

At the same time, though, they will only be prouder if and when the Philippines and Filipinos get to use the coaching capabilities of their son. "My dad and mom, they'd love for me to go there. They're always trying to talk me into moving back home," he said.

He then continued, "They would love for me to coach out there. They would love it."

If and when that happens, the current shot-caller of the Highlanders, apparently, already has a house for him and his family. "(My parents) have a condo right in the middle of Makati. They'd love me to coach out there and I would definitely be open," he said.

And hey, all of the Philippines, he could call home anytime and every time.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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