Jong Uichico has done a lot to help the local coaching landscape improve as the head of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ Coaches Academy.
From going to provinces, to holding clinics, to organizing webinars adjacent to the current situation, he and his team have done it all to ensure that coaches learn and learn more.
Uichico has found fulfillment in being a mentor to mentors. But the veteran bench tactician admitted that he does miss coaching.
He confessed as much on Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden.
“Yeah, of course. You miss coaching, you miss the game-planning, you miss the practices, the process — you know, how to build your team. You miss all those,” he said.
It’s understandable where that itch comes from. After all, Uichico is one of the most decorated coaches in Philippine basketball.
The 58-year-old has won nine PBA championships — six with San Miguel; two with Barangay Ginebra; and one with Talk N Text.
He was the architect of that famed Beermen dynasty headed by Danny Ildefonso, Danny Seigle, and Olsen Racela that won five titles from 1999-2001.
The two-time Coach of the Year has also wielded his magic on the global stage, having led the country to gold medals in the 2013 and 2017 Southeast Asian Games. He had added another SEAG gold to his collection last year as he helped coach Tim Cone handle an all-PBA Gilas crew that mightily swept the competition held in Manila.
That was his first tour of duty with the national team since 2018. Then, he was eased out of the program together with head coach Chot Reyes following the Gilas-Australia brawl in Bulacan.
The last time he served as a chief bench strategist was last year with Bataan in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, although that stint only lasted for a few months.
That was his first head coaching gig in four years, or since he manned the sidelines for Talk N Text before being replaced by Nash Racela in 2016.
As much as he misses calling the shots, Uichico is happy with where he is right now. But he isn’t completely closing his doors should the opportunity to do so knocks.
“Of course, dito meron ka ring relevance sa buhay basketball. You can be relevant despite not coaching in the PBA or in any other league,” he said.
“But of course, you’d miss coaching, and then — hopefully — if the opportunity comes and if it’s a good opportunity, then why not?”