Jorge Gallent will be coaching San Miguel Beer in a full-time capacity beginning the upcoming Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
The Beermen officially elevated Gallent to the role of head coach after Leo Austria, told management about his plans to take a sabbatical, team manager Gee Abanilla told Daily Tribune.
San Miguel management shortly issued a statement.
“Coach Leo met with management a few days ago and informed us that he wishes to take a coaching sabbatical for personal reasons starting the Governors’ Cup. We respect his decision and we understand his situation as we fully support whatever he needs,” the statement said.
Austria was the most successful coach in the PBA in the last eight years, leading the squad to nine championships, including near grand slam finishes in 2016-2017 season and 2019 season.
After leading the Beermen to their latest title in this season’s Philippine Cup, Austria missed several games last conference after he was placed under health and safety protocols and it was Gallent who took over much of the coaching reins.
Gallent is no stranger to coaching in the PBA as he succeeded Ryan Gregorio as head coach of the old Purefoods franchise in 2010-2011 season.
Prior to joining the PBA coaching ranks, Gallent had established a winning reputation, leading Harbour Centre to a dynasty in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, powering the Mikee Romero-owned franchise to six championships.
As an amateur player, Gallent was also a part of the winning team, Tanduay/Stag Pale Pilsen, which won seven PBA titles and he was in fact among those players elevated to the PBA when the Lucio Tan-owned franchise made its return to the big league.
Gallent’s appointment as head coach doesn’t mean that Austria will not be a part of the coaching staff anymore as the latter will still serve as a consultant.
“With this development, he will remain with the team as consultant,” the management clarified. “Coach Jorge will take over, bringing with him his PBA head coaching experience and exciting future for the franchise.”
“To the SMB supporters, rest assured that we will continue to work together and strive for a successful campaign in the Governors’ Cup onwards.”