THE overhaul of Phoenix Petroleum in the Philippine Basketball Association continues.
After being involved in multiple trade transactions the past month, the Fuel Masters made another tweak by naming Ariel Vanguardia as their new head coach.
Following a disappointing campaign in its initial conference in the league last Commissioner’s Cup, the management of Phoenix decided to let go of then coach Koy Banal and get the services of Vanguardia, who steered the Westports Malaysia Dragons to their first championship in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) last February.
Phoenix bared in a statement the reason why it decided to hire Vanguardia. Management thinks that he is the right fit to head the Davao-based rookie team.
“Phoenix Fuel has appointed Ariel Vanguardia as its new head coach. His (Vanguardia) appointment is in consonance with the long term plan of building an exciting team which is likely in line with the marketing programs of the company,” Phoenix said in a statement.
Vanguardia, who already served as a coach in the league before with Talk ‘N Text and also as an assistant both at the now-defunct Barako Bull and Blackwater aside from being once a coach for Jose Rizal University years ago, immediately took over the team yesterday. He conducted his first practice and will call the shots in the season-ending Governors’ Cup next month.
Phoenix also indicated its support of Vanguardia as it acquired the services of its new coach’s old top gun at JRU, John Wilson.
Wilson was received by the Fuel Masters from NLEX in exchange for seldom-used guard James Forrester.
In its first campaign as a franchise, Phoenix finished at 11th place with only a 3-8 record to show.
As for Banal, he is expected to be rehired by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to serve as a top assistant in either one of its top three teams, Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and Star, where he spent a lengthy time assisting.
“We are grateful for the efforts and professionalism of Coach Banal and the entire staff. We wish them well in their future endeavors.”