IMPARTING "so very basic" knowledge in basketball, multi-titled coach Joseph "Jong" Uichico left Cagayan de Oro triumphant after completing a two-day coaches' clinic/seminar on February 22-23 at the Corpus Christi gym.
How well-respected the former PBA Coach of the Year is can be gleaned from the presence of bemedalled and vintage local hoop mentors such as Manny Diaz of Xavier University, Edgardo "Boy" Dacoco of Sacred Heart of Jesus Montessori School (SHJMS) and Rene Ilogon of St. Mary's School (SMS) who joined hundreds of clinic participants throughout Region 10.
Even the novice one could now identify the difference between "ball screen" and "screen away" and "box out" from "help side" after inter-acting with coach Jong and company on the basic fundamentals of basketball.
"Kadaghanan man gud sa mga clinics sa Manila nga akong na-atenan shortcut ang pamaagi. With Sir Jong's basic insight, na-emphasize gyo like sa positioning in full-court defense kon asa mag-atubang ang depensa in the right place at the right time," said coach Dacoco, who contributed some talents to the PBA that he nurtured during high school days such as Gio Jalalon and Rey Nambatac.
Among those around were youthful bench tacticians Arvin Martinez, now Mindanao area head of the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC), Dane Lariosa of La Salle-Iligan, Catrina June-Pong Biongcog of Corpus Christi Women's varsity team and Van Halen Parmis of Tagoloan Community College (TCC) in Misamis Oriental.
"With coach Jong's vast experience since amateur days with UAAP up to his glorious conquest in the PBA, it's just amazing how he shared well in details ang mga basic kaayo nga unahon gyod nato pag master in coaching basketball," said Martinez.
"Indeed, you can only teach what you know in as much that you can only give what you have," he added.
Catrina's better half in former Oro junior basketball MVP Ronald Rey "Boning" Biongcog was quite nostalgic after experiencing a post-Valentines date with coach Jong Uichico who led the Beermen to six PBA championships.
He remembered his former Corpus Chrtisti coach Hermogenes "Ansing" Anciado, formerly with Crispa-MICAA, and the basketball drills and knowledge that he used to share with them.
"Learning from coach Jong, among na-recall ni Catrina nga epektibo gyod diay kaayo 'tong gipangtudlo ni coach Ansing there's no reason nga daghan pud mga players iyang napamaayo. Before sa lima-lima, gatudloan gyod 'mi niya individually sa una depende sa posiyon sa player. Kon big man ka, bansay-bansayon ka niya duol ilalom sa ring," Biongcog recalled.
Cebuano cager Parmis, who's now also the sports-in-charge of Tagoloan, said Uichico's fundamental teaching is very applicable to grassroots sports development.
"Ang ilang pamaagi lang daan sa conditioning na-appreciate kaayo namo sa Team Tagoloan. I mean dugang kahibalo to prepare our young TCC team sa sunod nga mga torneyo," Parmis told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
Also with coach Jong Uichico, concurrent head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Coaches Academy, are Gilas Pilipinas Youth Strength and Conditioning coach Martin Alido and Gilas Pilipinas Women's Team assistant coach Mark Solano.
Newly-minted SBP Regional Director for Region 10 Stephen "Pong" Dacoco said after the SBP Coaches' Clinic and Accreditation for Level 1.2, the Level 2 seminar will follow probably in September this year.
"We're so happy for the participation of many coaches especially those from far away Tawi-Tawi. And we're very thankful to Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno for rallying behind the momentous event that will surely upgrade the basketball know-how of our local coaches," the younger Dacoco said.