With Yeng Guiao no longer around, Adonis Tierra is back to a familiar role of being an interim coach while NLEX prepares for the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
The 62-year-old Tierra is running the day to day operations of the Road Warriors following the departure of Guiao for Rain or Shine last week.
Reports have it that the Road Warriors have already prepared a shortlist of possible head coaches that is composed of former Phoenix mentor Louie Alas, Meralco assistant Luigi Trillo, and Gilas Pilipinas deputies Jong Uichico and Sandy Arespacochaga.
The names of former Purefoods mentor Ryan Gregorio and former Batang Gilas tactician Eric Altamirano were also mentioned in various reports.
NLEX is still in the process of assessing its choices, putting Tierra at the helm together with assistant coaches Borgie Hermida, Emman Monfort, Ford Arao, and Jigs Mendoza while warming up the seat for the new head coach.
“Being an interim coach was like a déjà vu for me. I was told to just stay put until a new coach takes over,” Tierra told Daily Tribune in a telephone conversation.
“I asked my fellow coaches what system will we use: Mine or Coach Yeng? We all agreed to use coach Yeng’s system for now while we are waiting for the appointment of our new coach. At least the players will not have a hard time adjusting.”
Embracing the interim role is nothing new for Tierra.
The veteran mentor is a loyal soldier who also subbed in for various coaches like Nat Canson and Chot Reyes when he was still the lead deputy of Sta. Lucia Realty in the 1990s.
He also substituted for Boyet Fernandez when the NLEX chief tactician called the shots for San Beda University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Tierra will get an early test when the Road Warriors collide with Bay Area Dragons in a friendly match on Friday at Kerry Sports in Bonifacio Global City.
Tierra and the Road Warriors will be parading Earl Clark, who played with the late Kobe Bryant during his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association.
Although Clark had an impressive showing in their previous tune-up match against Blackwater, he was still obviously adjusting to the weather condition in the Philippines.
“He sweats a lot,” NLEX guard Don Trollano said.
“But we can see that he’s really good.”
But the Dragons are no easy foes.
They are handled by Brian Goorijan, who led the Australian national team to a third-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, as well as Filipino assistant coach Cholo Villanueva.
Aside from these notable coaches, Bay Area Dragons will also field in a bumper crop of players led by imports Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson.
Tierra, on the other hand, will pin his hopes on Calvin Oftana together with mainstays Kevin Alas and JR Quinahan, Trollano, team captain Justin Chua, Matt Nieto and Raul Soyud.