Perasol welcomes pressure of Ateneo coaching job

Bo Perasol now finds himself in the spotlight, surrounded by immense pressure. Some might easily shy away but Perasol, 41, relishes this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Via an official memo signed by president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, and posted on the school’s official website, Ateneo has formally named Perasol Monday as the new head coach of its men’s basketball team, making him the team’s 36th mentor in history.

Villarin, who opened up lines of communication with telecommunications magnate Manny V. Pangilinan in his bid to mend their stunning break-up last September due to opposing principles in mining and the RH Bill, stated on the memo: “The Committee met last Friday, 24 November, and confirmed their recommendation in respect of Coach Bo. With the affirmation and support of the Search Committee, I am pleased to announce that Coach Bo shall be the Head Coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles beginning 1 December 2012. We are grateful to MVP for his gesture of goodwill.”

With both camps having patched things up, Perasol now has been thrust back to the limelight, with the daunting task of keeping the Blue Eagles’ winning tradition facing him head-on.

Reached by phone, Perasol gladly welcomed the challenge, saying: “Natural lang ‘yan (pressure). Actually, self-imposed lang naman ang pressure. Ang Ateneo community, mag-e-expect talaga yan dahil nasanay na sila sa panalo. Andu’n man ang pressure pero at least, may fighting chance naman.”

Perasol, who suited up for the University of the Philippines in his collegiate days, initially inked a three-year deal with Ateneo to replace pro league-bound coach Norman Black and initially attended the practices of  Ateneo’s Team B.

He, however, pulled himself out of the Katipunan-based camp after Pangilinan–the school’s staunch supporter–abruptly severed his ties with the Jesuit school.

With things now settled between the two parties, Perasol now faces the daunting task of sustaining the glorious run of the Blue Eagles, who completed a ‘five-peat’ at the expense of University of Santo Tomas in the recent UAAP men's cage wars.

“Coaching Ateneo talaga ang pumapasok sa isip ko,” stated the former Powerade tactician. “I’m just hoping this will work well.”

The Blue-and-White community are hoping so, too.

With the dominant frontline led by 7-foot Greg Slaughter and Nico Salva, along with three vital cogs, having graduated, Perasol is left with a smaller line-up built around Kiefer Ravena, former Finals MVP Ryan Buenafe and Juami Tiongson.

Although he wants to inject a ‘run-and-gun’ offense to offset the loss of dominant big men, Perasol knows it will take time, saying: “I want to attack in a manner na makukuha namin ang lahat ng mga opportunity. Alam natin na kulang talaga kami sa frontline ngayon but that shouldn’t be an excuse.

“We have to make up for that by playing run-and-gun. But titignan natin ang bilis ng adjustment nila (the players). For me, the lesser the adjustment, the better. But bottomline is, we need to do what we want to do and that is to win,” he added.

With Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraw star Jerie Pingoy, among others, reportedly on his way to the Blue Eagles camp, Perasol admitted he “has no idea regarding the new recruits.”

Perasol confirmed he will work with current Ateneo assistant coaches Sandy Arespacochaga, Jamike Jarin, Gene Afable and Gabby Severino.