Boasting a 20-4 record in the Northern Division of the 2019-2020 season of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup, the Makati Super Crunch was one of the favorites in the competition.
However, the team received an unforeseen setback that could very much derail the rest of its campaign. During its game against the Bacoor City Strikers at the Southwestern University-Aznar Coliseum in Cebu City last Saturday. Makati head coach Cholo Villanueva was a notable absentee, alongside former pros Simon Atkins, Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan, and Jong Baloria, plus key cogs Cedric Ablaza and Josh Torralba.
With their absence, Bacoor took full advantage and seized an 86-63 victory at the expense of Makati to raise their standings to 19-5 in the league’s Southern Division.
For his part, the De La Salle University alumnus revealed that his exit was due to him and the team’s management not having the same vision anymore for the said MPBL franchise.
“It seems that now, management has a different direction. The direction that they’re taking diverges from the vision that we were working towards since the beginning of last season despite the success that we’re having, as evidenced by the fact that we have the second-best record in the league and we were on a championship track,” said the 37-year-old mentor.
“Honestly, this is a very hard decision for me. We have worked very hard, day in and day out, to build a team that has the right values and winning culture, and I really think that we were well on our way to the championship.”
In fact, there were discussions between both sides leading up to the game. With no compromise, Villanueva felt that the team would be better off under the guidance of a new instructor, who could guide them for the rest of the season.
“It wasn’t an impulsive nor an emotional decision. For some time, we have been discussing our direction moving forward. Management believes in going another direction, and I no longer want to stand in their way,” shared the former Air 21 Express guard.
Villanueva is not the only one exiting Makati; his trusted lieutenants Jay-r Aquino, Sonny Montalvo, John Arenas, James Tolentino, and Pau Ycasiano are also departing. With this development, an overhaul of the team’s mentors can be expected.
“Actually, my whole coaching staff resigned also because there’s no longer confidence in the way we’re running the program. And if there’s this feeling, there’s no reason to stay anymore,” said the two-time UAAP gold medalist.
Ultimately, while he may not be under the payroll of Makati anymore, the former Green Archer said that he will still be a busy man in the basketball industry.
“I’m still with the DLSU Women’s Basketball Team but yes, several teams have already reached out to me. But I’m still trying to clear my mind and weigh my options.”
As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens in due time.