Jamike Jarin held his first official practice as interim head coach of Phoenix Super LPG on Thursday at The Upper Deck in Pasig City.
The mood was different, though, as former head coach Topex Robinson was not around.
And Jarin admitted that everything that transpired over the past 12 days only sank in him during those hours he was on the court.
“Right now, you’re saddened with the departure of Topex. You wish him all the best in his next challenges,” Jarin shared to Tiebreaker Times.
“They are all pros. All are saddened because what Coach Topex built here is a family-oriented culture. You don’t want someone from the family to leave but we are thankful to him. I know, Coach Topex only wants us to continue, to grow, and to improve.”
Robinson has been with the Phoenix organization over the past five years — two as the team’s head coach.
When Robinson was appointed as chief tactician to replace Louie Alas back in September 2020, he tapped Jarin to be his lead assistant.
Now, Jarin is the lead man albeit in an interim capacity.
“I would like to thank Boss Dennis (Uy), Atty. Raymond (Zorilla), Boss Paolo (Bugia), and the management for the opportunity and trust to lead this team this conference. Blessed and grateful for what is happening,” he said.
Jarin knows that one of the reasons Phoenix decided to not look elsewhere is because the multi-time UAAP High School Boys’ champion coach and one-time NCAA champion knows Robinson’s system by heart. The transition would be seamless.
Moreover, the majority of the players in Phoenix are either former players or opponents of Jarin in the amateur ranks.
“(Tyler) Tio was a player I handled before, same with Javee (Mocon) and (Ben) Adamos. I also handled RR Garcia in the SEA Games. These are the players you were coaching against and with. It’s not like I just barged into the door and got in, the opportunity presented itself. God has plans and let’s just take it was something I told myself,” said Jarin, who also took over for University of the East when Jack Santiago was handed a suspension by the school back in UAAP Season 84.
Jarin, of course, knows that there is pressure that comes in handling a PBA team — after all, it’s the pinnacle of Philippine basketball.
But Jarin is embracing it, vowing to repay the trust given to him by Phoenix.
“New challenge for me and there is pressure but I’m blessed because it’s another opportunity given to me by the sport that we all love.
“Of course, I’ve been with this team for two years and I’m familiar with them already. We will improve on what Coach Topex left for us. Again this is a big challenge for me because it’s the PBA. Though the challenge is big, I’m confident… I’m confident that we will be very competitive,” he closed.