A new era now begins for the Caloocan Supremos-Victory Liner.
The top brass of Caloocan, led by team manager Jeremy Tin, tapped the services of Rene Baena to become the head coach of the team in the fourth season of the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
And the 61-year-old mentor has nothing but bright plans for the Supremos.
“The plan is to put up a team that will play with much pride and heart. Determined with such desire to bring out the best in the team,” said Baena, who is also an assistant coach for the NU Bullpups.
And he has already recruited nine players to jumpstart the rebuild in Caloocan, starting with former Quezon City-WEMSAP captain Mon Mabayo, who averaged 9.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in the Lakan Season.
Supporting Mabayo are JR Raflores from Rizal-Xentro Mall; Mark Acuno from Pampanga; Raymark Matias; St. Clare’s Joseph Peñaredondo and Marte Gil; Cebu’s Erick Bangcoyan and Garrex Puerto; and John Rosagas from Uratex’s club team.
The Supremos also retained the Cedric Labing-isa, Damien Lasco, Renz Cervantes, Radge Tongco, John Ambulodto, and Danny Marilao.
“We always want a perfect effort in any game and in any practice,” Baena said.
To ease the job, Baena has brought a lot of familiar faces to assist him in running the team — 11 individuals to be precise — with Nemie Villegas, Vis Valencia, Mark Herrera, Bong Solian, Brian Gorospe, Manny Calipes, Peter Sta. Maria, Edu Miguel, Derek Evangelista, Percy Estrella, and Marlon Tubig.
But with the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Baena is keeping himself busy as a kagawad in Barangay St. Peter in Quezon City.
“Call of duty, nasa frontline. Mahirap kaunti because of the threat ng virus, pero we just take necessary precautions.”
Caloocan lost head coach John Kallos alongside players Paul Sanga, Mark Sarangay, and brothers Joe and Carlo Escalambre to Sarangani after the Chooks-to-Go Lakan Season.
The Supremos missed the Lakan Season playoffs by just a game, finishing with a 16-14 slate in the Northern Division.
Story by Justin Valencia