The first time Geraldo “Bong” Ramos played in Indonesia was as team captain of the ESQ Pasig Giants, who, in 1988, invaded and eventually ruled the Asean Inter-City basketball tournament.
So impressed by the performance of the tiny and speedy Filipino point-guard were officials of the Pelita Jaya squad that they hired Ramos as the team import for its campaign in the Indonesian basketball circuit, earning the distinction as the first ever Filipino to have played as such in that country.
Ramos saw action as Pelita Jaya’s court general for three years and was adjudged the “best guard” of the Pangdam Tanjangpura Cup in 1988.
Not surprising really as Ramos was already an established star in the country’s amateur collegiate and commercial leagues first as co-captain of the NCAA champion Mapua Cardinals under coach Charlie Badion in 1981 when he was named in the league’s Mythical 5 and Over-all Top Scorer.
That’s apart from carrying the country’s colors as member of coach Ron Jacob’s Northern Consolidated national team in 1982-1983, 1981-1982 Co-Captain of National Youth Team to the Asean School Youth, 1983 Bank of Rizal Philippine Amateur Basketball League Selection in Malaysia, among others.
When imports were eventually banned from playing in Indonesia, Ramos became the assistant coach for Pelita Jaya. He returned to Manila in 1991 to play here but suffered leg injury while training with RC Cola in the Philippine Basketball League when a player accidentally fell on his leg during a tune-up game.
The injury led Bong to hang up his playing uniform and, at age 30 worked as an account manager for Ivy League Workwear Shoes for five years.
In 1997, Ramos returned to basketball as head coach of the Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA. The following year, Ramos started his professional coaching career as bench tactician of the Batangas Blades career in the MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association).
Ramos coached the Indonesian team ASPAC-Texmaco to win a three-peat and quadruple championships in 2002 and 2003 in the emerging Indonesian basketball scene. He was named 2003 Coach of the Year of the Indonesian Basketball League, a credential that earned him the coaching job of the Indonesian national squad.
Ramos handled FedEx Express in he PBA from 2004 to 2005; Barako Bull when it was still carrying the Air21 brand name in 2011; assistant mentor of the PH team that won the 2001 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, 4th SEABA Championship the same year in Manila; Aspac Texmaco in Jakarta 2002-2003; Kobatama Basketball League in Jakarta in 2002; 2003 Sister Cities Cup in Medan; Indonesian Basketball League in Jakarta in 2003; ABC Champion’s Cup in KL in 2003; Indonesian Basketball League in Jakarta as head coach of IBL All Star Champion Team in the IBL All Star Game in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2003; Hewlett-Packard ASPAC; and ABC Champions Cup in KL, all in 2003.
Ramos also handled the Rookie-Sophomore team in the PBA All Star Game in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in 2005; CLS Knights in Surabaya, Indonesia in 2008-2009; Garuda Flexi Bandung in 2009; Brunei Barracudas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL); and Stapac in Jakarta in 2017.
After years of shuttling back and forth from Manila to Indonesia and vice versa, Ramos came home last May on vacation but found himself calling the shots for the Blackwater Elite in the Commissioner’s Cup that followed.
He replaced Elite’s head coach Leo Isaac, who after leading the team to no higher than a quarterfinal appearance since acquiring a franchise in 2014. Team owner Dioseldo Sy offered Ramos to take over.
He took the job thinking of making the Commissioner’s Cup part of the team’s preparation for the Governors’ Cup. Ramos asked the Elite management to bring import Henry Walker immediately to work with the team that early, which Sy and brother Siliman, the franchise’s alternate governor in the PBA board, granted.
Ramos’ idea look to be reaping fruits as his Elite, with Walker at the forefront of their reinvigorated campaign, have so far racked up four straight win against perennial top contenders Talk ‘N Text, San Miguel Beer, defending champ Barangay Ginebra and Northport in what could very well put them within grasp of attaining their modest goal of at least making the playoff.
Why, the Elite, likewise, can convince their footloose coach to stay home for good. After all, he’s been in and away of the country for more than three decades that it’s time for him, his wife Joy and daughters Nicole and Cecille to live together, for once, as one family.