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SBP confirms Nenad Vucinic's departure

Nenad Vucinic is now out with Gilas. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed on Thursday that Nenad Vucinic will be leaving the Gilas Pilipinas program.

However, according to executive director and spokesman Sonny Barrios, the Serbian-Kiwi coach, who is also reportedly leaving Meralco as consultant, has decided not to renew his contract, which expires this month, and is not resigning contrary to initial reports.

"From what I understand, I will not term it as 'resignation'. His contract is only up to August, and he decided not to renew it to pursue other opportunities, I believe in New Zealand. So it was not like he resigned in the middle of a contract," Barrios said on Thursday in CNN Philippines Sports Desk.

Vucinic came in ahead of the third window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and eventually became Gilas' head coach for the said window.

He also handled Gilas during a two-game friendly series against South Korea.

However, a couple of weeks after the South Korean games, Chot Reyes stepped in to coach Gilas for the FIBA Asia Cup, although Vucinic was kept as part of the coaching staff.

For the fourth window of the FIBA WCQ, however, Vucinic was left out of the coaching staff as according to an initial statement, Reyes leads the way anew and will be joined by his son Josh and current Ginebra mentor Tim Cone.

Barrios then confirmed that Jong Uichico will be part of the coaching staff as well, meaning that three multi-titled PBA coaches will be in one crew.

"Matibay ang coaching staff ni Chot, actually," Barrios further said.

Gilas will face Lebanon in Beirut on Aug. 26 (Philippine Time) and Saudi Arabia in Pasay on Aug. 29 during the window.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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