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TNT taps ex-Thai national coach

MANILA, Philippines - Former Thailand national basketball coach Tim Lewis is in town on a one-month contract to share his knowledge and insights with TNT KaTropa in the PBA. He piloted Thailand to third place at the recent SEABA Championships here, raising the possibility of joining the Philippine team as a consultant in the coming SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur because of his experience in competing at the Southeast Asian regional level.

Lewis, 49, was unceremoniously fired as Thailand head coach early this month. He was on the job since April last year and before the SEABA Championships, took Thailand to second place at the SEABA Stankovic Cup in Bangkok and 12th place at the FIBA Asia Challenge in Tehran, both last year.

It was during the SEABA Stankovic Cup that TNT head coach Nash Racela met Lewis. They faced off in the final with the Philippines surviving a late scare to beat Thailand, 97-80. Racela said Lewis’ contract is initially for a month. “Players are very open to coach Tim,” he said. “He’s been helping us out with our offensive execution and re-emphasizing defensive principles.”

According to TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio, Lewis arrived in Manila last July 15 and joined the TNT training camp on July 17-19 in Subic. He attended TNT’s twice-a-day practices before the Governors Cup opened. TNT assistant team manager Magnum Membrere said Lewis’ specialty is zone offense and defense.

Lewis, who is British, cut his teeth on coaching at the helm of the UK U20 team from 2006 to 2011. He was the Hitachi Rockers head coach in the Japan league and assistant coach with the Panama national team and NBA D-League teams Bakersfield Jam and Raptors 905. In a Thai website, Lewis doused speculation that he resigned and confirmed the termination. “That’s the last thing I’d want to do with the players,” he said. “We’ve made progress despite not having played the same team in two tournaments. I’ve always said this was going to be a four to five-year process at the very least. I feel bad but in the end, it’s not about me. Coaches come and coaches go. It’s normal. But it’s the people and the players who are going to be losing out.”

In line to take over as Thai head coach in the SEA Games is American Doug Marty who recently steered Mono Vampire to the Thailand Basketball League title. Mono Vampire was led by Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman and former PBA import Michael Singletary. Marty’s appointment, however, is not confirmed, leaving a vacuum in the coaching position.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/07/28/1722245/tnt-taps-ex-thai-national-coach

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