At just 22 years old, Luigi Trillo became coach of a major UAAP collegiate program at Adamson University.
That was the easy part.
Getting victories proved to be much harder. In the first two seasons with Trillo as coach in 1999 and 2000, the Falcons failed to win a single game.
It didn’t take him nearly as long to secure his first victory as a PBA coach. Trillo piloted the Alaska Aces to victory on Sunday, but the memories of those 0-28 years remain.
“Yes, those winless seasons inspired me to do better,” Trillo told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview. “I was the youngest coach at that time at 22 and I was going up against seasoned coaches like Franz Pumaren and Aric del Rosario and I’m coaching a team that pales in comparison in talent.”
But even though we had that two winless seasons, we’d been improving year by year in all those five seasons I’ve been with Adamson,” he added. “There were games we could have won.”
Trillo has since made his mark in coaching, leading Cebuana Lhuillier to the finals in the 2007 PBL Unity Cup before losing to powerhouse Harbour Centre. In the inaugural staging of the PBA D-League last year, Trillo once again led the Gems to the championship round, but were defeated by the NLEX Road Warriors.
“I’ve learned a lot of things during my coaching stint with Cebuana Lhuillier as well as my 13 years with Alaska as one of the assistants of Coach Tim (Cone). I was fortunate I was able to recruit good players in Cebuana Lhuillier, that’s why we were able to make it to the finals in the PBL and D-League,” said Trillo.
The PBA, however, is a bigger stage, but Trillo welcomes the challenge.
“I barely had two weeks with the team. Yes, I’m surprised, but I was able to see some activity happening in our team, not only in embracing the triangle offense, but also the way we play defense,” said Trillo. “Right now, I’ve got the monkey off my back.”
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