Petron will reportedly undergo a major overhaul when the 2020 season of the Philippine Superliga goes into full swing. And the decorated club team is looking at grizzled tactician Emil Lontoc to spearhead the rebuild.
At 70 years old, the former UST strategist is up for the daunting task.
“Ako ‘yung coach na kapag materials, maski bago, nagtitiwala ako na kaya kong mapa-angat ‘yan,” asserted Lontoc, who also bared that he mentored some of the national squads in between 1991 to 1995 that struck numerous golds in the international scene.
“Kagaya noon na binuo ko ‘yung sa SEA Games na walang setter, walang libero, puro bago karamihan. Tinanong ako ng PSC kung kaya ko ba mag-medal, after six months nakuha natin ang best setter, second best blocker, second best libero, pero baguhan ang mga players and at the same time nag-medal, 2001,” continued the bench strategist, who also wants to repay the trust given by Alfrancis Chua.
“Actually pinakiusapan ako na mag-coach sa kanila kasi kilala ko ‘yun si coach Al, kilala niya ang kalibre ko. Pinakiusapan ako.”
Lontoc disclosed that Petron has yet to complete its pieces for the import-flavored PSL Grand Prix in a bid to defend its throne. And so, he cannot go into details on what he has in store for the Blaze Spikers.
“Hindi ako makapagsalita hanggang ngayon binubuo ‘yung team, may mga kulang. Pero kapag nabuo ko na, doon na ako magpe-predict,” admitted Lontoc, who also handles the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates in the ongoing NCAA.
“Kasi ngayon sobrang madaming nawala, apat lang halos ‘yung natira. So sabi ko nga ang mga ganyang skilled player madaling makapag-adjust ‘yan.”
When asked about the four holdovers he mentioned, Lontoc refused to go into details.
But deducing from the announcements that the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons has committed to beach volleyball, as well as Rhea Dimaculangan’s move to Generika-Ayala and the reports of Mela Tunay, Chloe Cortez, and Denden Lazaro’s transfer to the PVL, the quartet of Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Ces Molina and Remy Palma remains in the conversation of returning to the once-star-studded crew.
For now, though, Lontoc could only hope that Petron will be able to acquire the players they need for his system.
“I hope na makakuha kami ng mga players.”