Chris Gavina is new Rain or Shine head coach, Caloy Garcia given new role

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters have appointed a new coach in Chris Gavina for the incoming 2021 PBA season, replacing Caloy Garcia.

Gavina had served as ROS assistant under Garcia since 2018 before the latest move made by the Elasto Painters management.

"We just appointed coach Chris to be the new head coach and I'll be his active consultant," Garcia said in confirming the news to ESPN5 on Monday.

Garcia said he'll also be taking a more front management role to make sure the Elasto Painters remain competitive while providing added coaching help to Gavina.

"I think it's gonna be similar like that (general manager's role). I'll be looking over the whole program of coach Chris and then I'll be the one connected to the owners," Garcia added.

Garcia, whose official designation is consultant and head of basketball operations, is hopeful that this new direction can bring a PBA championship to the Asian Coating franchise. The Elasto Painters haven't won a title since the 2016 Commissioner's Cup under coach Yeng Guiao.

Garcia had his chances when he led Rain or Shine to three semifinal trips in the last six conferences, but fell short each time.

"You know the ultimate goal is try to win a championship. I had my chances also and maybe by making this move, it could be positive since this will also be the first time for me to be in this position, let's see," he said.

Rain or Shine hopes to turn things around with Gavina, who is noted for his defensive style and intensity and whose last official head coaching assignemnt was with the Bacoor Strikers in the MPBL in 2019.

Gavina also coached Mahindra to the franchise's first-ever quarterfinal stint during the 2016 Governors' Cup with athletic import James White. Officially though, Gavina was designated assistant coach.

Coaching the Kia franchise to its lone playoff appearance is a feat not lost on team co-owner Raymond Yu, who said he has a lot of trust in Gavina surpassing expectations.

"I see a lot of potential with coach Chris. When he was still with Kia, he was able to bring Kia to the playoffs. I understand he's not an established coach yet in the PBA, but I see a lot of potential in him," he told News5's Lyn Olavario on Monday.

Yu also said appointing Gavina to the post was also Rain or Shine's way of helping the team stay competitive in the changing PBA landscape while supporting Garcia's bid to help GIlas Pilipinas as an assistant coach.

"A big part of the consideration was Caloy was asked by Gilas to help out and be one of the assistant coaches. So we were thinking that it may last until 2023. That might cause disruptions within the team," explained Yu. "Secondly, with the drastic change in the basketball landscape right now, we needed someone experienced and someone that has been with us since our PBL days to help us deal with the bigger picture in the PBA. Winning in the court in the court is one, but we needed someone to look at the team as a whole and look for ways to develop the team. Part of that is improving the lineup, part of that is instilling a good program for the team to stay competitive always."

But Garcia will still be in the sidelines during Rain or Shine's season campaign, said Yu.

"He'll still be sitting on the bench. We still need whatever he can contribute to the team, to the game. He's going to help in any way that he can," he clarified.

This story has been updated with additional reporting from News5's Lyn Olavario.