The relationship between Francis Vicente and Generika-Ayala is finally over.
The Lifesavers formally parted ways with the national team head coach following a roller-coaster campaign in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix.
League insiders claimed that the top management of Generika-Ayala sat down with Vicente in a meeting Sunday afternoon where he was told that the Lifesavers would take a different direction when the league opens in February.
The source said the squad is now talking to a couple of candidates and is expected to announce its new head coach any time soon.
In a telephone conversation, Vicente confirmed the veracity of the source’s claim, saying that it’s now time for him to move on.
Vicente has a colorful coaching career in the PSL.
He was the head coach when a rag-tag Philips Gold squad bannered by Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing and Myla Pablo with Bojana Todorovic and Alexis Olgard as imports nearly made it to the finals in the 2015 Grand Prix.
The Lady Slammers moved to the rival league under the banner of Pocari Sweat the following conference and immediately won a couple of titles.
Vicente, for his part, joined Generika-Ayala in the 2016 All-Filipino Conference and piloted it to a fifth-place finish in its first conference since making a one-year leave.
But in the previous conference, the Lifesavers nearly did the unthinkable.
Ranged against a powerhouse squad in Petron in the sudden-death quarterfinals, Generika-Ayala came out firing on both ends to move a set away from pulling off a planet-shaking upset.
It was Vicente’s last match for the Lifesavers.
It was the match that tested the character of his wards.
“It’s something to be proud of. At least we never quit. The team still fought until the very end.”
Blessing in disguise
Vicente admitted that the Lifesavers’ decision could be a blessing in disguise.
Aside from Generika-Ayala, Vicente also handles the national team that saw action in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the Southeast Asian Games.
The Nationals finished eighth in the Asian Seniors to qualify to the Asian Cup and fell shy of punching the bronze medal in the biennial meet held in Kuala Lumpur.
Vicente also calls the shots for the up and coming University of the East squad that will campaign in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) starting Feb. 4.
But still, the PSL will have a special place in his heart.
“If there will be any offer, why not?”
“But I see this development as a blessing in disguise. At least I can now move on and focus on UE and the national team — if and when (Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. acting president) Mr. (Peter) Cayco calls me back.”
He said he’s very professional and he’s ready to move on.
After all, things happen for a reason.
If God closes a door, He opens a window.