The man accustomed to facing the Ginebra mystique is now part of the lore. Okay, he’s been part of the team for just two weeks. But new Ginebra assistant coach Frankie Lim, by battling Ginebra for decades as a player and team manager, knows the pressure brought about by Ginebra’s popularity all too well. Sanay na sanay na yan. If you’ve been fighting a singular opponent for so long, you eventually get to know that opposing team just as well as your own team. As such, a drastic change in roles, a drastic change in sides, a drastic change in perspective hardly change the primary task. Frankie Lim knows that no matter which big-time team you sign up with, the never-ending demand is always to win.
MH: You’re about to make your first official appearance as an assistant coach for Ginebra. Are you nervous or anxious? Or is it just business as usual for you?
FL: I’m pretty nervous. (Laughs.)
MH: Thanks for being honest enough to admit that. Why are you nervous?
FL: It’s different when you’re not the Head Coach. Kasi nung-nag-he-head coach ako, the feeling of control is there so confident ako and hindi ako kinakabahan. But when I was team manager of Talk ‘N Text, doon lagi akong kinakabahan. I’ve only been (with Ginebra) for two weeks so I don’t know what to expect from the team when they play. Although the upside is we have a good import. I think ‘yun ang magdadala sa amin.
MH: What makes Michael Dunigan the right import for Ginebra?
FL: I saw his performance when he was the import of Air21. He was a pretty good import and he could hold his own inside. If he plays that well for us, I think it’s a big lift for our team.
MH: I like how you said “us” and “our” signifying that taga-Barangay ka na talaga.
FL: (Laughs.) Akalain mo no? Who would’ve thought na mapupunta ako dito?
MH: Exactly. I know that when you used to play against Sen. Robert Jaworski, you weren’t exactly a favorite among Ginebra fans.
FL: Oh yeah, for sure. Siyempre, trabaho lang yun. It was nothing really personal. Yeah…(Jaworski and I) had some “times.”
MH: Other younger players who had to face Jaworski siguro maiilang or masisindak pero fans remember that you never backed down when you guarded The Big J.
FL: Sa akin naman, it’s just being competitive. The challenge is there I’ll face it. Ganoon lang naman ako maglaro noon eh.
MH: What was the most unforgettable incident you figured in while playing against Jaworski?
FL: Naku, huwag na lang. I don’t want it in print. (Laughs.)
MH: Did you ever think that you would end up in Ginebra sometime during your post-playing career?
FL: You know I spent a lot of years on the other side, talking about Talk ‘N Text. Maybe I thought I’d end up maybe retiring over there pero hindi eh. So after that the next option would be to join this side, which is the San Miguel group. Just to get into the San Miguel group is not easy. But I thought this was the option for me. Pagpasok ko ng San Miguel group, sinabi naman sa akin right away that mapupunta ako sa Ginebra. Siyempre welcome naman yung idea sa akin.
MH: Why did you readily embrace the idea of joining Ginebra?
FL: Aba siyempre, Ginebra is the most popular team in the Philippines. How could you say no? Exciting. This time, Ginebra fans will be rooting for me! (Laughs.)
MH: You know that Ginebra fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world. What if a Ginebra fan approaches you and asks, “Coach, ano ba kailangan ng Ginebra para mag-champion?” What would you say to that fan?
FL: Kailangan magpalakas.
MH: What does that mean?
FL: Magpalakas ng team.
MH: Hindi pa ba malakas ang Ginebra?
FL: For me in terms of the line-up, Ginebra is good, but not yet great. Pero siyempre lalaban yung team. It’s not a weak team. May materyales. But if you want greatness, you have to add players that will make the team stronger. It’s a nice team, but there is always room for improvement. We should not be afraid of making changes.
MH: What do you have as a coach that makes you a timely addition to the Ginebra coaching staff?
FL: I think it’s direction. You know any coach, whether you’re an assistant or head coach, I think what’s important is direction. When you’re aiming for greatness as a team, I think planning is also important. Maybe as an assistant coach, I could be very useful in terms of think-tank.
MH: Do you look forward to the first Ginebra versus Talk ‘N Text game of the tournament?
FL: Yeah, yeah. Looking forward to that. I want to see how our team fares against Talk ‘N Text.