During his almost three-decade career as a coach, Jong Uichico has seen a lot of players come and go.
And he knows talent when he sees it.
One of the players who surprised the 58-year-old tactician during his stint as Gilas Pilipinas head coach is Dwight Ramos.
“Oo nagulat ako sa kanya.
“Honestly, hindi ko naman siya kilala. I mean, I know na ni-recruit siya ng Ateneo, that’s all I know about him. And ‘yung mga highlight videos niya, ‘yun lang ang kilala ko,” Uichico shared on 2OT, presented by SMART Sports.
According to Uichico, the 22-year-old would not wow you in practice. But Uichico’s jaw dropped once Ramos got on the court against Thailand last November 27.
Ramos did it all during that game, dropping 20 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting clip alongside seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
He followed it up with 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists, three days later.
“He is not very impressive in practice eh, kasi team player siya eh, a little bit of all. And so that first game really surprised me that yes, he does a little bit of all — nakaka-score, depensa, ganda ng vision niya.
“So, he gives you an all-around performance, and he is tall if he plays the point guard, which is what we need in our team. We need size kasi alam naman natin wala tayong size, so any size we can get for each position is good for us,” added Uichico.
If there’s one player that the two-time PBA Coach of the Year sees in Ramos, it’s his former player in San Miguel and TNT Danny Seigle.
Just like the 6-foot-5 Ramos, Seigle — who stands at 6-foot-6 — did it all for the Beermen. He could play point, score, rebounds, and defend — the perfect all-around player.
With San Miguel, Uichico and Seigle won six PBA crowns. Seigle also won four PBA Finals MVP plums and two Best Player of the Conference plums to boot.
And when Uichico moved to TNT, he also brought Seigle with him, with the two helping the Texters win the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“He’s not very quick but he’s athletic.
“Ang lakas ng katawan kasi niya eh, and at the point guard, he’s not only a scoring point guard but he has great vision for a point guard, which medyo nawawala na ngayon. Ngayon medyo scoring point guard or facilitator, pero siya, ibang may dimension siya eh. He can create, he’s not quick but he’s strong. He can create, he can pass the ball and he can make the shots especially if he has a lot of great players around him,” Uichico said about the similarities between Ramos and Seigle.
Even if Ramos still has two playing years with Ateneo, Uichico firmly believes that the 22-year-old can make an immediate impact in the PBA if he gets drafted now.
“I think he’s PBA ready kasi magagamit at magagamit siya eh. Kung sa Gilas nga nagagamit siya eh, what more doon sa PBA where he will be really a factor.”