By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Serbian-Kiwi orchestrator Nenad Vucinic will no longer man the sidelines of the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team in the fourth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
According to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) spokesperson Sonny Barrios, the veteran coach is heading back to New Zealand and made it clear that Vucinic didn’t resign his post.
Barrios added that Vucinic didn’t sign his renewal of contract with the SBP and is seeking better coaching opportunities once he arrives in New Zealand.
Aside from leaving his role as Gilas’ assistant coach to chief mentor Chot Reyes, Vucinic also made his last appearance wearing the Meralco Bolts uniform and also stepped down as their consultant.
“From what I understand, I will not term it as resignation. His contract is only up to August and he decided to pursue other opportunities in New Zealand,” said Barrios during the CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk.
Vucinic had his first head coaching job for Gilas during the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Under his helm, Gilas Pilipinas split two matches during their schedule, first losing to a well-oiled New Zealand team while bouncing back the next game against India.
Vucinic also called the shots for the national team during the 2022 KB Kookmin Bank Invitational where the young Gilas squad lost back-to-back games against the Korean national team.
However, during those two losses, Vucinic and the rest of the guys fought toe-to-toe against Ricardo Ratliffe and the veteran Korean team.