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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JORGE GALLENT San Miguel Beer head coach Gallent Jorge (right) shares a toast with San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua shortly after the Beermen’s title conquest in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

After steering San Miguel Beer to a 104-102 win over Magnolia in Game 6 of their Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series, Jorge Gallent didn’t just simply secure his first ever title in the Philippine Basketball Association.

He also restored a winning tradition that dates back to the time when he was still coaching in the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

Yes, before Gallent who took the major responsibility of calling the shots for the league’s most successful franchise, he served as the architect who carved the dynasty of Harbour Centre in the PBL.

With Gallent at the helm, the Batang Pier won six consecutive titles, making them the most successful team in the twilight years of the country’s top amateur league.

Then, Gallent patiently waited for his turn while assisting Yeng Guiao at Air21 in 2009 and Ryan Gregorio at B-Meg before he was eventually promoted as head coach.

But when Tim Cone ended his 22-year partnership with Alaska, he moved to the old Purefoods franchise and Gallent found himself getting relegated to assistant coach anew, this time for the San Miguel franchise, which was then donning the colors of Petron.

His biggest break came last year when he was appointed as interim coach for Leo Austria, who took a one-year hiatus.

Like a loyal soldier, Gallent gladly embraced the role until the Beermen management formally removed the “interim” tag on his name. And in his first year as full-time head coach, Gallent was able to put together a collection of talent while establishing a winning culture within the team.

But Gallent humbly deflected all the credits.

“I have to give it to the players,” said Gallent, who also played for San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua in PBL teams like Stags and Tanduay more than three decades ago.

“Character isn’t built overnight and these players became tougher brought about by the experience they had in all the battles they’ve been in, whether they’re playing together or they’ve experienced with another team.”

“But once they came in, everybody accepted their roles. They’ve been competing against each other in practices and scrimmages, but when it comes to winning, they all come together.”

True enough, Gallent patiently put everything together until he was able to concoct a winning formula.

He acquired swingman Jeron Teng and hired Bennie Boatwright, who emerged as a perfect fit for the talent-laden Beermen.

Under Gallent, CJ Perez blossomed as the most consistent individual performer, paving the way for him to emerge as the Best Player of the Conference and Most Valuable Player of the finals.

Perez said nothing is sweeter than winning a title.

“It didn’t come easy,” Perez said.

“There were heartaches and pains before success came in and I’m so thankful to Coach Jorge and the other coaches.”

Teng, for his part, said the title is for his father, former San Miguel bruiser Alvin Teng.

“I’ve been playing six years in the league and this was my first championship and I was so blessed to win it at San Miguel,” Teng said.

“My dad played proudly for this franchise and I’m really blessed to play for San Miguel.”

Still, it was Gallent’s winning legacy that powered the Beermen to their 29th title.

And definitely, there will be more to come.

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