Joe Lipa is gamely taking on the challenge of coaching Terrafirma in the PBA 3×3.
The legendary mentor did confess that he has yet to fully grasp the intricacies and whatnot of the halfcourt game since he’s only been immersing in it just recently, but is nonetheless confident that he’ll get there ‘sooner or later.’
“Three-on-three, ito, tsaka sa five-on-five, malaking kaibahan,” he said.
“Medyo nangangapa ako dito sa three-on-three, pero I’m sure that sooner or later, I’ll be familiar with the game. And I’ll be able to teach the game better.”
Lipa was tasked to handle Terrafirma 3×3 in lieu of head coach Raymond Tiongco, who is presently in Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s bubble serving as an assistant to Knights head coach Bonnie Tan in the NCAA wars.
“I got a text from our management that I’ve got to take over on our 3×3 basketball team as soon as possible,” the 78-year-old recalled, “dahil ‘yung dating nagko-coach is busy with his other coaching jobs.
“And I’ve got to be a soldier and follow them,” furthered Lipa, who has actually been with the expansion franchise practically since its inception, first serving as its consultant and then, later on, as team manager.
Lipa did take over immediately. But, he did not have the luxury of time to prepare his charges. Lipa disclosed that they only had four days together before the fifth leg of the Second Conference at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Terrafirma went 1-2 in Pool C and was hoping to compete at least for the last quarterfinal spot, but that got dashed due to the quotient rule. It only had 44 points, a far cry from the totals of other 1-2 teams San Miguel (56) and TNT (52).
“I’ve watched the practice of the team before the opening of these games for four days. Kaya very limited ang tools namin to play the game dahil four days lang ako nakapag-turo,” he lamented.
With one leg now in the books, Lipa hopes to maximize the time they have heading into Leg 6 on April 12-13, where the Dyip definitely hopes to reach the quarters after failing to do so for two consecutive stops now.
“Hopefully in the next leg, with more time, we’ll have more weapons to win.”
It is also an opportunity for Lipa to learn the new discipline even deeper.
“Very challenging ‘tong three-on-three dahil ito ay laro nating mga Pilipino e,” he said.
“As I’ve always described, the three-on-three is brimming with potential, and I’d like to know the game more because I’m sure sooner or later, it will be very, very popular.”