Interview: Azkals’ Palami on reviving the UP Mens Basketball team

It has been announced that Azkals' and Global football club manager Dan Palami has been appointed team manager for the luckless UP Fighting Maroons, a squad that lost all fourteen of their assignments in last year's UAAP season. Before Tuesday's Loyola-Global match in the UFL he sat down with Yahoo! Philippines to share his thoughts on the new job.

Y!: Whose idea was this to get you to be the manager of UP?

DP: I was just invited by some alumni who wanted to ask if I could manage the Maroons the way I helped turn around the Azkals. When your alma mater calls, you feel that despite all the risks, you can't think of saying “no” because it's part of who you are. I spent more than eight years in UP. From my accounting days, which is five years (he graduated in 1991), to my law school days.

Y!: Are you a basketball fan also?

DP: I am! Crispa Redmanizers!

Y!: Wow. Atoy Co, Guidaben, Bogs Adornado.

DP: Yup. In my younger days, that was the only sport we could play. Football wasnt introduced to us until I was grade six. Before that I was part of different barangay leagues. Even when I was playing football, I played basketball. It's certainly a nice game.

Y!: What position did you play?

DP: Point guard.

ALSO READ: UFL: Global's comeback win a big step towards the league title.

Y! What exactly is going to be your role as manager?

DP: My first task is to assess why we have been winless last season and try to see whether we can make some changes in how the team is run, maybe motivate the players more. Maybe it's a lack of fitness. Just try to identify the problems and see the kinds of solutions I can put in. Where they are right now is much like where the Azkals were.

I'm not going to give any inputs of course on the technical side. That's up to the coach. But in so far as getting the team prepared mentally and physically, we'll try to do that.

Y!: Is there going to be some synergy, some sharing of resources between the Azkals, Global FC and the UP basketball team?

DP: The conditioning coach Madel Galvez will be shared. (Physios) Wally Javier and Josef Malinay will be exclusively for Global and the Azkals.

Y!: Are you going to help with the recruiting also?

DP: No, except that when the news (of his appointment) came out, there were a lot of inquiries on my Facebook page about how they might be able to come in, but eventually, just as in the Global or in the Azkals, it's the coach's call. We'll just refer them.

ALSO READ: Franz Pumaren: PBA coach, franchise architect, and playoffs believer.

Y!: How long is your contract?

DP: There is really no contract. What I wanted to do was volunteer to help the Maroons. The idea of me being the manager came in the talks that we had with the administration.

Y!: Is Rey Madrid still going to be the coach?

DP: He is the coach right now. He has come up with his own system and he wants to prove that it works so we'll give it a chance. We've always given chances to coaches.

Y!: Is this going to be harder than bringing the Azkals to where they are? With the Azkals you can find a good Filipino player from Eurpope and get him. I don't think you can do that easily in UP.

DP: Not as easy, but what we need to do is make UP an interesting place for prospective players.

Y!: Make it appealing for recruits?

DP: Yes.

Y!: Any other specific plans?

DP: Right now everything is evolving. We are still in the process of evaluating what has to be done in the next few months before the first game.

Y!: Could this mean you might help the UP mens football team also or is John Gutierrez (Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr owner who supports the Maroon Booters) doing just fine there?

DP: John is doing fine. They have a title already, they had a runner-up finish last season. Management is not a problem there. But if John asks for help certainly I'll be there.

Y!: Are you excited about this?

DP: It's a great challenge. I'm excited because I always like challenges. Although your elbow room is not as wide when it comes to being able to do what you want (in collegiate athletics.)

Y!: Have you set goals for this coming season?

DP: Not yet. As soon as I get to evaluate then we can more or less realistically assess the kind of goals we need to have.

Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH.

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