Jojo Lastimosa talked about the three coaches who had the most influence on him on an episode of An Eternity of Basketball.
Lastimosa, who played for 14 years across three teams, is now an assistant with the NLEX Road Warriors under Yeng Guiao. The PBA legend said that three coaches -- namely Tim Cone (Alaska), Chot Reyes (Pop Cola), and Guiao -- have a common denominator: wit.
"Come to think of it, they didn't even play in the PBA. They know their basketball. How do you know basketball? You read, you research, get it from experience. So, I think they're all hardworking. But their styles, they're somewhat different," explained Lastimosa.
The hardest to play for
Cone, who has steered the Alaska, Purefoods, and Ginebra franchises for a total of 22 titles, handled Lastimosa the longest from 1990 to 1999.
"He's very detailed. A disciplinarian. We have to be on time. We have to be early, if possible. He would stop plays to correct you. Even the last guy on the team will have the same teaching. He's like that. He studies well, he prepares well," said Lastimosa.
Lastimosa added that Cone's assistant coaches enjoyed a lighter load since the American tactician handled everything during practice. He would run offensive and defensive drills from start to finish. However, Cone, who is now 62, has started to delegate to some of his bench lieutenants.
Jolas, Tim Cone and the triangle
Jojo Lastimosa discusses how he and Tim Cone initially butted heads over the triangle offense.
Cone, to no one's surprise, was also the hardest on Lastimosa.
"For him, if he cannot get on his stars, his bench players might lose some respect. So he would have to set an example with us. It that applies to us, it would have to apply to everyone," expounded Lastimosa.
Similar to other coaches like Guiao, Cone also had his share of outbursts.
"If you make a mistake, he will call a 'special/ timeout and he will meet you at the end of the court. Alam na namin kung ano yan [We already knew what is was] so special timeout, you got to listen dahil pag iiwasan mo siya, pipitsirahan ka noon [because if you avoid him, he will grab you by the collar]."
A player's coach
After Alaska and Lastimosa failed to agree on a contract in 1999, Pop Cola tendered an offer he could not refuse. The Tigers were mentored by his good friend, Chot Reyes.
Lastimosa pointed out that Reyes was built in the same mold as Cone, but was more lenient with the cagers and his assistants.
"He's more like of a player's coach that will let the players do their thing inside the court. Chot requires the players to be smart. He wants you to be made already. He does not need to expound a lot of basketball to you," explained Lastimosa.
Lastimosa furthered that unlike Cone, Reyes liked to delegate duties to his assistants for them to flourish and learn too.
"He lets the assistants run the drills. Even when he was with us in Pop Cola, he was like that."
The 'nicest guy in practice'
Guiao, who has coached in the PBA since 1990, had developed a reputation of having a short fuse and hurling colorful language towards everybody.
The former Gilas head coach explained, in a previous episode of the podcast, that there were two things that ticked him off the most: lack of effort and lack of "intelligence."
"If I see your effort is lacking, you're not giving out your best. That really grinds my gears. I see it and I know it. Nagpapanting na yung mga tenga ko," shared Guiao.
"I really get mad when I see the ball handler know that he was already being harassed, and not pass the ball to the open man," he added. "Then you are answerable for that decision."
Lastimosa, who is now Guiao's lead assistant in NLEX, bared that he was surprised at seeing the mercurial coach handle practice for the first time.
"He is the nicest guy you can see," Lastimosa said with a chuckle. "He's very engaging, and he's just willing to listen. He can talk anything. But the best part about Coach Yeng is that is he wants to include everyone."
Lastimosa added that Guiao wants every member of his team to be heard, as long as it contributes positively to the squad. Guiao takes that step further with his rotations on court, where most of his players have a chance to log in decent minutes on the floor.
"He has no ego. He has no agenda. He just wants to win. And that's why so many players want to play for Coach Yeng. He said, 'I'm going to give you playing time,'" recollected Lastimosa.
"I'm not going to give you one minute. I'm not going to give you two minutes because what can you do in one or two minutes? I'm going to give you your seven minutes, your eight minutes, your 10 minutes. I'm not only going to give you one time, I'm going to give you multiple times."
Guiao is all about giving his players equal opportunities, but Lastimosa said the guys must always prepare for an intense tongue-lashing if they make mistakes.
"You must not be sensitive to his words. If you're emotionally weak, you will definitely cry. But if you're a great player and he shouts at you, it's okay. Don't take it personally," clarified Lastimosa.