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MANILA, Philippines – Will Jojo Lastimosa stay at the helm as TNT head coach?
That is the burning question the Tropang Giga face after Lastimosa guided the flagship franchise of the MVP Group to the PBA Governors’ Cup crown following a six-game conquest of Barangay Ginebra.
“It might change everything but it remains to be seen if this is really a one-off,” said Lastimosa.
Lastimosa, who left NLEX to join TNT as its team manager, concurrently holds the head coaching post after the Tropang Giga brass opted for Chot Reyes to focus on his duties as Gilas Pilipinas head coach and program director.
Reyes, after all, already has his hands full as the national team gears up for the Southeast Asian Games in May and the FIBA World Cup in August.
With Lastimosa calling the shots, things fell into place for TNT.
The Tropang Giga enjoyed a blazing 5-1 start with Jalen Hudson before Lastimosa decided to switch imports and brought in NBA veteran Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Crowned the Best Import, Hollis-Jefferson led TNT to win nine of his first 10 games as the Tropang Giga arranged a finals showdown with the mighty Gin Kings, who ruled the Governors’ Cup in four of the last five editions.
Ginebra won two of the first three games of the best-of-seven finals, but TNT clinched the next three matches to capture its first-ever Governors’ Cup title in franchise history.
The championship has fans wondering whether the Tropang Giga should keep Lastimosa as their head coach for next season.
Lastimosa, though, is leaving it up to the TNT management.
“As far as I know, this is a one-off. But I don’t know what [Manny Pangilinan] will do and Mr. Ricky Vargas will do and Mr. Al Panlilio will do. I’ll be ready just in case. But I can be a manager and a coach at the same time,” he said.
“I can do both.”
Lastimosa, a 10-time champion as a player and three-time titlist as an assistant coach, won his first title as a head coach, doing so at the expense of his former mentor Tim Cone.
The result saw the Tropang Giga become the first team to beat the Gin Kings in a finals series in an import-laden conference since the arrival of Cone and Justin Brownlee.
“I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be coaching this. My deal was is if I’m going to coach, I’ll coach it. I’m not going to be just a mouthpiece and they agreed to it,” said Lastimosa. – Rappler.com