Cholo Villanueva is taking the La Salle basketball program by default.
The youngest member of the coaching staff previously headed by Dindo Pumaren, Villanueva was retained by La Salle management because he was also handling the pool of players from the team’s development squad.
“I made a joke to several people I talked to regarding my current position, that I’m interim coach by default,” Villanueva told InterAKTV. “That’s because I’m the only coach left on the La Salle team as the other members have already resigned. Kidding aside, yes, I’m interim coach until the new head coach takes over.”
Assistants Tonichi Yturri and Jack Santiago tendered their resignationalong with Pumaren after La Salle’s disappointing campaign in UAAP Season 74.
But Villanueva clarified that his role in the team is a temporary one.
“My job is to make sure they’re still in good condition,” he said. “I’m just teaching them skills, no Xs and Os. I want to make sure that the players will remain in good condition so that when the new coach comes in, he won’t start from zero.”
“We’re doing this also to have a smooth transition, especially because the team will be joining the Champion’s League and the Fr. Martin’s Cup.”
Villanueva also commented on rumors that Franz Pumaren, Dindo’s elder brother, will come back to coach the team. In eleven years with La Salle, Franz led the team to five UAAP titles. Apart from his role in La Salle, Villanueva is also one of Franz’s assistants at Shopinas.com, the PBA team that acquired the services of the elder Pumaren in August.
“There’s no word on whether Coach Franz will return to La Salle,” said Villanueva.
Asked about rumors of Franz’s return to Taft, Shopinas.com team manager Jovie Saddul said that the coach is committed to the newest PBA ballclub for the next three years.
“Yes, Franz signed a three-year contract with Shopinas.com that’s why we’re not panicking,” added Saddul.
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