AS the new coach of San Miguel Beer, Jorge Gallent finds himself handling a herculean job.
He inherits a post as daunting as preserving the team’s legacy of excellence: the winningest of all time.
He replaces a coach that prides in the sheen of a 9-of-10 title acquisitions, including one championship and a semifinal stint in the first two conferences of the current Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season.
But did Jorge Gallent not win his first three games in fantastic fashion, his winning margin pegged at an average of 20 points per game?
Surely, that auspicious blast-off is one bragging right that could be the envy of all.
Oh, well, the winning streak got almost snapped in Jorge Gallent’s fourth game in a Sunday outing that suddenly transformed from sleeper to thriller.
Up by what appeared like a comfortable lead of nine points, 100-91, with just 75 ticks left, Jorge Gallent’s boys suddenly found themselves perilously clinging by the cliff.
A blazing three from Mark Barroca followed by Calvin Abueva’s back-to-back hits kicked off a 7-0 run that shoved Magnolia to within 98-100 with ticks remaining.
Thrown in panic for the first time in four games, San Miguel bungled its last offense that opened wide Magnolia’s window of opportunity.
But Paul Lee, usually a dead shot from afar, blew a game-winner for the Hotshots when he missed his buzzer-beating triple.
Yes, Jorge Gallent walked away unscathed in four games. But it’s still too early to tell if he’s got the goods or not.
What I can say is, with the way he’s been performing thus far, Jorge is a marked man from here on—his moves every step of the way getting ogled by foes with owl-like curiosity.
Is he for real? Is he really up to the task? Is he the perfect fit, the textbook replacement for the multi-titled Leo Austria? Perhaps.
Yes, so far, so good for Jorge Gallent in his still-infant stint at the helm. A 4-0 start is not something to sneeze at.
But in my ever-unchanging view, there is no such animal as a good coach. To me, a good coach can only be as good as when he is winning. Jorge Gallent is in that zone right now. Let’s leave it at that.
Just savor every second of the moment, Jorge, and you’ll be fine.
THAT’S IT Los Angeles’ LeBron James might surpass fellow Laker Kareen Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time output any day now in the National Basketball Association’s scoring record of 38,387 points, a mark many thought might never be broken. James needs only 36 points to do it—and the 38-year-old LeBron averages 30 points per game this season. It can happen today (Wednesday) when James and the Lakers host Oklahoma before they face Milwaukee on Friday. Said Golden State coach Steve Kerr of James: “To see LeBron do it over 20 years is pretty remarkable and a testament to not only his ability but his durability. He’s just a machine. He’s healthy and a physical force night after night.” Some guys are just different from the rest of us.