Introduced recently as the man taking the head-coaching duties for CSB’s men’s basketball team next season at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Mr. Tang, now 32, said it is a “natural progression” for him to now be a coach following a noted career in high school all the way to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) playing the point guard position.
“I didn’t really close my doors on coaching and I wanted to try it at one point. I think it’s natural for me. Being a champion and competitive athlete as I am, I wanted to share that kind of mind-set and passion with others,” said Mr. Tang in an intimate gathering with a small group of media at the CSB compound last week.
“It’s natural with me being patient [in teaching]. It gives me a sense of fulfillment in developing others. Now I’m handling a collegiate team and I don’t have that hesitation that other former players may have of coaching. I really want to do this,” added the one-time champion point guard with the De La Salle Green Archers in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and Rain or Shine Elastopainters in the PBA.
While coaching the Blazers is his first head-coaching assignment, Mr. Tang intimated that he has been honing his coaching skills in his basketball school, now up for some seven years now, at his high school alma mater Xavier and in alumni games.
These are apart from the firsthand experiences and lessons he got from the coaches that handled him in the past, particularly Franz Pumaren in the collegiate ranks with La Salle and Yeng Guiao in the pros with Rain or Shine.
He was quick to say though that he is still learning the ropes of coaching and taking on the challenge along with his staff at CSB, namely coaches Charles Tiu, Ali Peek and Carlo Tan.
Mr. Tang also said that taking on the CSB job was something that appealed to him since it is a way of giving back to the La Salle school system that gave him a lot of opportunities as a student-athlete. And that it is only fitting that he begins his coaching career with it.
WORK CUT OUT
Taking over a team that finished at the bottom of the NCAA standings with a 1-17 record in the recent tournament, Mr. Tang said their work is cut out for them.
But they are undeterred by it and instead using it as a motivation for next season to be better and set the school’s basketball program back on the winning track.
“Ending up with a 1-17 record, everybody has to step up. Everybody has to collaborate. To change the environment, we have to start from us,” the coach said.
“With support from different stakeholders we are trying to build a program that we want and that will take us somewhere. Along with change are expectations but we are embracing the challenges and pressure that go with it,” Mr. Tang added.
Short-term goal for the Blazers, Mr. Tang said, is to be competitive right away.
“We want to be competitive immediately, in the sense that we want our opponents to know that when they face us it won’t be an automatic win. We hope also that we can reach the Final Four,” said the coach who is building a team that is defensive-oriented and boasts of a more uptempo and run-and-gun type of game.
Adding, “I can say our defense will be our offense. I want us to be like guard dogs. Everybody has to be on the same page and able to play with intensity for the whole game because we will be a running team.”
For the long term, as a coach Mr. Tang said that apart from developing players’ skills, he also wants to do his share in honing them as individuals and giving them the “tools” to succeed in life in general, in line with the CSB thrust.
“We want our players to be good not only on the basketball court but in life as well. We want to develop in them the sense of responsibility, pride and togetherness, among others, life values that will set them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
By doing so, Mr. Tang said, they hope to make their program appealing, enough to encourage more athletes to join their program.
Before picking Mr. Tang as coach, CSB reportedly considered seasoned coaches Koy Banal and Siot Tanquingcen for the job.
Mr. Tang was part of the 2007 UAAP champion La Salle team along with the likes of JVee Casio, Cholo Villanueva and Rico Maierhofer.
He also helped Rain or Shine bag its first-ever PBA title in 2012 (Governors’ Cup) before deciding to retire early to attend to their family business. Mr. Tang finished his seven-year PBA career with averages of 4.02 points, 1.38 rebounds and 1.43 assists.