by rick olivares
During the Filoil Flying V Pre-season Cup coaches meeting yesterday at Brothers Burger along Meralco Avenue, new University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons assistant Moriah Joel Gingerich admitted there’s an air of excitement coming out of Diliman.
“I think it’s not just because we’re the hosts for the UAAP’s Season 78 but also because of how team management and the alumni have put together a veteran team with some blue chip additions,” enthused Gingerich. “Right now the goal is to get better every game. Use Filoil as a springboard for the UAAP, and shoot for a Final Four slot.”
“Coach Mo’ as he is now fondly called, has moved from the players’ end of the bench to as an assistant coach.
Gingerich, the Ohio-born kid who came out of Faith Academy in Antipolo City was a do-it-all player for the Maroons but in his latter two years, he made a name for himself as a defensive stopper. “My job primarily as a player was to stop the other team’s best scorer,” said Gingerich.
Even now as an assistant, the Sports Science graduate still multi-tasks. “I do a little bit of everything – scouting, helping out with the guards, work on offense and defense, attend press conferences for our team. I love my job,” Coach Mo enthused.
“I have to say that when I see our guys getting lit up, I wish I could be on the floor to do the job for them. However, at the same time, it is gratifying to be able to teach what I have learned over the years to our young players.”
“We have lots of veteran holdovers in Mark Juruena, Dave Moralde, JR Gallaraza, Diego Dario, Andrew Harris to name a few (Mikee Reyes has been released). And coming back is Paul Desiderio who is a national team veteran, and Jett Manuel who hasn’t played in two years. We also have rookies Janjan Jaboneta and Pio Longa out of Ateneo de Cebu who will help us from the wing. And we are trying to get this tall player from Letran. We have two foreign players – Cheick Kone and Lionel Tekoudjou -- to rebound and play defense for us. With the Filoil tournament, we will be able to gauge where we are and what we need to do.”