Philippine basketball

Vucinic parts ways with Gilas Pilipinas to pursue New Zealand opportunities, says Barrios

Delfin Dioquino
Vucinic parts ways with Gilas Pilipinas to pursue New Zealand opportunities, says Barrios

EXIT. It has been a short-lived Gilas Pilipinas stint for Nenad Vucinic.


SBP executive director Sonny Barrios says Nenad Vucinic bid Gilas Pilipinas goodbye following the expiration of his contract

MANILA, Philippines – Nenad Vucinic will not be around when Gilas Pilipinas plunges back to action in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios on Thursday, August 18, confirmed that Vucinic parted ways with the national team following the expiration of his contract.

“From what I understand, I will not term it as resignation,” Barrios told CNN Sports Desk.

“His contract is only up to August and he decided not to renew it so he can pursue other opportunities, I believe, in New Zealand.”

A disciple of former Gilas Pilipinas mentor Tab Baldwin, the Serbian-Kiwi mentor joined the national team in February at the time when the SBP appointed Chot Reyes as head coach.

With Reyes focused on TNT in the PBA Philippine Cup, Vucinic took over the coaching reins in the third window of the Asian Qualifiers, guiding the national squad to a 1-1 record with a loss to New Zealand and a win over India.

Vucinic then served as Reyes’ deputy in the Southeast Asian Games and FIBA Asia Cup.

Throughout his months-long stay in the country, Vucinic also joined Meralco as an assistant coach in the PBA and helped the squad push San Miguel to the limit in seven semifinal games.

But as Vucinic bids Gilas Pilipinas goodbye, he is expected to relinquish his post for the Bolts as well.

“It is not like he resigned in the middle of his contract,” Barrios said.

Despite losing the well-travelled tactician, Barrios said there are no immediate plans to replace Vucinic when the Philippines takes on Lebanon and Saudi Arabia on August 25 and 29, respectively, in the fourth window.

Reyes’ coaching staff is composed of his son Josh, Tim Cone, and Jong Uichico.

“Chot has a formidable coaching staff,” said Barrios in Filipino.

Training since Monday, the national team will welcome back Kai Sotto in practice on Friday and NBA player Jordan Clarkson on Saturday. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.