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Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs’ greatness

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Tributes poured from the Philippine basketball community after legendary mentor Ron Jacobs passed away last December 24. He was 72.

Jacobs left a lot of memories to treasure for his fellow coaches and the players he handled throughout his coaching career. The American mentor is best known for being the architect of the Philippine national team in the mid-1980s, which went on to win the 1985 Asian Basketball Championship (now named FIBA Asia).

Jacobs was also responsible for the growth of some of the best PBA players during his time. Some of them are still playing up to now while some have moved on to become coaches.

His players describe Jacobs as a disciplinarian but one with compassion; he was more than just a mentor but also a father-figure who guided his players throughout their lives, both on and off the court.

Here are some thoughts from Jacobs’ colleagues in the basketball community as they remember the legacy he left to Philippine hoops.

Pido JarencioFormer national team member/Globalport Batang Pier head coach


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs' greatness

Jones Cup, Southeast Asian Games, and then ABC, magkakasama kami. Iba ensayo namin noon. Three times a day. Ganoon magpa-ensayo si coach Ron tsaka detalyado. Yung ginagawa namin, practices kung sino makakalaban namin, kung Korea o China, pinag-aaralan niyang mabuti yun. Hindi ko alam kung ginagawa pa ng mga national team yun. Kami noon, nakatira pa sa quarters. Intense talaga, pero personalized din. Chinecheck ka, sinusuportahan ka sa laro mo. Siya yung nagstart talaga sa mga American coaches dito.

Tim ConePBA’s winningest head coach


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs' greatness

I got to coach against Baby (Dalupan) late in his career. Normally I would say Baby is the best coach ever but again, I saw him later in his career. Ron was right during my prime and his prime and so he truly was the greatest coach I coached against. He was a fierce competitor and had a brilliant mind. That is a lethal combination. We all stole stuff from him. We all watched and grew from watching him. It was truly sad the game was taken away from him because of his illness, but I am pretty sure he is up there coaching somebody. He did a heck of a job. He paved the way for us.

Olsen RacelaFormer San Miguel Beermen member


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs' greatness

Si coach Ron, he was a great motivator. Sabi ko nga, for his players, he was more than just a coach. Palagi niya tinatanong kung kamusta ka na. He was not just concerned with your basketball career but also your personal life. For me he was like a second dad. When he had that stroke, feeling ko a big part of me nawala, so what more ngayon he passed away. Every year, we go to his birthday. Lahat ng teammates ko when we heard he passed away, nagtetext kami, sina Danny (Ildefonso), Danny (Seigle), even my teammates now in the US, lahat kami very concerned. Father figure siya eh, nangangaral siya. As a player you always want to play for a coach like that. Ako personally he was responsible for the turnaround in my career when he recruited me to play for San Miguel. I owe a lot to coach Ron.

Jong UichicoJacobs’ assistant coach and 2002 Asian Games head coach


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs' greatness

He is a disciplinarian, but at the same time, he lets them play. Nagbibigay siya kumpiyansa sa player. We know nape-pressure siya pero hindi niya pinapakita. He is calm, he instills discipline to his players, he instills the work ethic. And though he is a disciplinarian, may compassion siya to his players, he gives them yung pag-aalaga, pati sa fellow coaches. In brief, in general, that is him. I have many memories, pero the most grateful, I am very lucky and blessed naturuan niya ako all these years. Syempre hindi ko naman natututunan lahat, and hindi siya nagdamot magturo sa akin. The guidance in terms of coaching, those things, and we were more than just a coach and assistant coach. I will not be here if it wasn’t for him and the game of basketball has been good to me.

Danny SeigleFormer San Miguel Beermen member


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Colleagues, former players remember Ron Jacobs' greatness

He is just a remarkable coach. I have never seen someone so dedicated to the sport. He was the best or one of the best I ever played for. I owe a lot of my success to him. He was tough on me, he was a great coach. He is very good at the little things. I remember in a game, at halftime, he had a thing where he started writing people’s names on and he gets to a point where you actually see your name and let you know what you did wrong. So you get focused every game and he brings out the best in you. He is pretty much the closest thing to a total package as dealing with players on and off the court, his Xs and Os, and his mental approach of the game.

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