Columbian gives Cardel, staff one-year extensions

Despite failing to lead Columbian to a playoff appearance for the second straight conference this season, head coach Johnedel Cardel and his assistants were given one-year contract extensions.

Columbian placed 10th in the 2019 Philippine Cup, winning four times in Cardel's first conference as head coach. In the Commissioner's Cup, the Dyip won only three of 11 games (San Miguel, Phoenix and NLEX) to finish in 11th place.

"Boss Bobby Rosales talked with us coaches and we have been assured of a one-year contract extension," Cardel told ESPN5 on Saturday. "It's tough since we only have a thin coaching staff but what we've instilled to everyone is we will fight no matter what. That win or lose, we will just go out there and compete."

Cardel commended his young crew, led by the 2018 PBA top rookie CJ Perez, Jackson Corpuz and Rashawn McCarthy, for carrying the fight for the Dyip this season.

"CJ moves and plays like a veteran. We know he started slow this season but he has really matured a lot in taking the lead for the team," explained Cardel.

Though lacking in size and experience, Cardel is proud to see how much the Dyip have matured, which was evident in their final game of the conference when it pushed reigning Commissioner's Cup champion Barangay Ginebra to overtime before dropping a 127-123 decision.

Cardel believes the Dyip can build on experiences like that for the 2019 Governors' Cup, which won't open till the middle of September.

Eyeing Thailand tournament

Columbian intends to make a strong playoff run next conference by training early in August. In fact, the Dyip coach said they already struck a deal with American Antonio Hester, who will be reinforcing the team for the season-ending conference.

Hester was highly recommended by current Columbian import Lester Prosper.

"I watched the film of Hester and he's shifty, can play at the post and very athletic. He also has big body. We expect him to arrive by the middle of August," Cardel said.

Hester is a proven winner, having won a championship in Peru's professional league in 2014, before capturing another one in 2018 with Tindastóll in the Icelandic Basketball Cup, Iceland's top-tier pro basketball league.

Hester, a Miami Dade and University of Mobile standout, was named the 2018 Iceland Men's Foreign Player of the Year after averaging 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game for Tindastóll.

Cardel said the team also has plans to join a weeklong tournament in Thailand as part of their preparations for the Governors' Cup.