High hopes for JRU under Gonzales

JOSE Rizal University hopes to end a long and agonizing NCAA men’s basketball title drought with the appointment of Louie Gonzalez as its new head coach.

The appointment of Gonzales was announced by the Mandaluyong-based school during Lenten break. Gonzales thus replaced Vergel Meneses, who is running for public office in Bulacan.

The erstwhile longest tenured coach in the NCAA, Meneses has brought the Bombers to five Final Four appearances in his nine seasons with his alma mater, tallying a win-loss record of 86-82.

Gonzalez is coming off a brief stint with La Salle in UAAP Season 81, missing the Final Four after losing to Far Eastern University in a playoff for the last spot.  He recorded an 8-6 card in his only season with the Green Archers before being replaced by former NBA G-League coach Jermaine Byrd.

Widely involved in the grassroots development of basketball in the Philippines, Gonzalez will be assisted by Eddie Laure, Eric Dela Cuesta, Nixon Ramos and Vic Lazaro, who incidentally is the Light Bombers’ coach in the juniors division. Coach Glen Capacio, on the other hand, will be an active consultant.

JRU, which last won the championship way back in 1972, hopes to make an impact under Gonzalez when NCAA Season 95 begins on July 6.

The Bombers, who ended up in 10th place last year with a 3-15 record, will see action in the a major pre-season tournament next month as part of their NCAA preparations.