A day after walking away from Foton, Moro Branislav found a new home.
The noted Serbian mentor formally signed a two-year deal with Cocolife, a major development that could transform the young ballclub into a solid force when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix opens on Feb. 17
No less than Cocolife Joshua Ylaya broke the news to Volleyverse, saying that the noted Serbian mentor has what it takes to lead them to their ultimate goal of winning the title in their second year in the league.
True enough, the Asset Managers are on the rise.
They finished fifth out of six teams in their debut conference under Arellano coach Obet Javier before emerging fifth anew when former Army mentor Kungfu Reyes took over in the All-Filipino Conference.
The result was highly impressive as they managed to finally crack into the semifinals where they bowed to two-time champion Foton to close out the season.
This year, they have a much higher goal. And Ylaya believes Branislav holds the key to the Promise Land.
“Our goal in our first year (in the PSL) was just to be a dark horse and be competitive.”
“I guess we’re already quite successful with that so we’re raising the bar higher for next year by hiring a proven mentor in coach Moro. We’re optimistic that he can lead us to where we want to be next year.”
Ylaya, however, added that they know Branislav is no miracle-worker.
“We know that things don’t happen overnight. That’s why we sealed a two-year deal with coach Moro. We know coach Moro is a perfect candidate for a head coach.”
Branislav said he’s ready for the challenge.
In fact, in a meeting with Cocolife team officials Wednesday, he laid down his plan and jotted some players who are capable of helping the squad.
Reyes, for his part, is willing to take a step back and serve as his chief deputy while setting his focus on University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP, which opens on Feb. 4.
After all, Branislav is his mentor in an FIVB coaching course and he could learn tons of lessons under the wings of the noted Serbian guru.
Ylaya said Branislav and Reyes could be a good tandem.
“Although he (Reyes) has yet to formally accept our offer, we think he can work in harmony with coach Moro. Coach Moro would be the tactician and coach Kungfu the disciplinarian. I think it’s a pretty strong coaching tandem.”
Branislav said the future looks bright for the Asset Managers.
“For me, team Cocolife is already a good team.”
“We just have to add and develop some players to make it even more competitive. Part of my job as a professional coach is to make these players work together as a complete unit.”
Ylaya said they are giving Branislav a free hand to assemble the team and hire the imports, raising speculations that he will be bringing in Sara Klisura – the prolific Serbian spiker who broke the league scoring record when she tallied 41 points in the recent Grand Prix.
Branislav is set to fly to Belgrade late Thursday and it won’t be a surprise if he tags his protégé upon his return.
“He’s now the main man in-charge.”
“This is his team now.”