Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Professional basketball club the Taichung Suns confirmed Tuesday the appointment of former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) coach Chris Gavina, making him the first Filipino head coach in Taiwan's T1 LEAGUE.
The Suns introduced Gavina to the media at a season opening press conference in the central Taiwan city more than two weeks after PBA team the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters posted on their social media Oct. 9 that it accepted Gavina's resignation as assistant coach to become head coach of the Suns.
Despite Philippine media reports following the social media post, the Suns did not immediately confirm they had recruited Gavina, saying only there was going to be a new addition to the coaching staff.
At the press conference Tuesday, Gavina said he is grateful to the Taichung Suns organization for appointing him head coach.
"We're working hard, making sure that we build a championship culture here, it's going to be based on hard work, discipline and consistency. And to make sure that we provide a very exciting and high-quality brand of basketball to the Taichung Suns organization and to all of our fans," Gavina said.
"Practice has been very productive in just the short period of time I've been here. The players have really responded well to ensuring we build championship habits from a day-to-day basis. And we're excited to get the league started on Nov. 5 on our home court," Gavina said.
According to the Suns, Gavina has been in Taiwan for about a week.
Suns General Manager David Wang (汪蔚傑) said he has full confidence in Gavina to lead the team to good results this season, which starts for the Suns with a home game at National Taiwan University of Sport in Taichung on Nov. 5 against the defending champions the Kaohsiung Aquas.
Citing the 43-year-old Gavina's strong resume, Wang said the Filipino coach is an individual of the highest quality, who places importance on and pays great attention to detail at both the defensive and offensive ends of the court.
The move to Taiwan ended Gavina's four-year stay with the Elasto Painters where he started as an assistant coach in 2016 before taking over as head coach in March 2021. However, he stepped aside in September for the return of seven-time PBA champion coach Yeng Guiao, but stayed as an assistant.
Also joining the team for the upcoming season is 33-year-old former PBA import player Tony Bishop, who played 22 games for the Meralco Bolts from 2021-2022, posting a game average of 25.6 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists, while shooting 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.
"Practice has been going well, we have been working hard and building our chemistry together, working on getting everything together for the games to come," the 201cm forward said.
Bishop was born in the United States and is of Panamanian descent, which allows him to suit up for Panama in international competitions.