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ROS's 'Welcoat Night' just in time for paint relaunch says Jireh Ibañes

After 16 years, the Welcoat jerseys are back, and it was a huge success. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Rain Or Shine team manager Jireh Ibañes revealed on Wednesday night that he and the rest of the management team really thought about going retro in some games for the PBA Philippine Cup before the conference began.

Luckily enough, Anta, the team's current kit supplier, was also toying with the idea according to Ibañes, who has been with the franchise since he was a rookie.

"We've been toying with the idea, at nagkataon na nag-meeting kami ni Sir Mikko [Abello, Anta's marketing manager] at the start of the conference. And then sabi niya, 'Bakit 'di tayo magkaroon ng retro? Open ba yung mga bosses niyo?' Sabi ko, oo," Ibañes said.

Lady Luck shone on Ibañes and Abello more when the Welcoat franchise's co-owner, Raymond Yu, told them that they were planning to hype the Welcoat brand again.

"We presented [the mock draft of the jersey design] to Boss Raymond, and sakto, sabi niya, 'Magre-relaunch tayo ng Welcoat Paint.' So pumayag sila," Ibañes further said.

Needless to say, the Welcoat relaunch came in early.

ROS... I mean Welcoat... wins

Except for the number placing, which should now adhere to the PBA's current jersey design rules, Ibanes said that the Welcoat jersey design is identical to the ones the franchise used during its first two seasons in the league.

After seeing the Elasto Painters play as the Dragons again with their throwback jerseys against the Converge FiberXers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Ibañes is glad that their "Welcoat Night" finally came to fruition--all the more that they won behind a historic triple-double from Beau Belga.

"Nakakatuwa kasi syempre, doon nagsimula yung franchise pagkapasok sa PBA," said Ibañes, who ROS selected with the 11th pick of the 2006 draft and never left the team even after his player retirement.

Interestingly enough, the current Elasto Painters roster--even veterans Belga, Gabe Norwood, and Mark Borboran--never got to don the Dragons jersey, so Ibañes is even happier that they finally got to experience representing Welcoat, whose identity was first established in the defunct PBL during the late 90s.

"I'm so happy na na-experience nila to don the Welcoat Dragons," said Ibañes, who revealed that he even had his old Welcoat jersey framed and kept it in his old home in Roxas, Palawan.

This is not the first time Anta brought in throwback jerseys as the sports outfitter brand did the same to collegiate teams since 2022, but it is the first time the retro kits made it to the pro ranks.

Ibañes then bared that PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has allowed them to wear Welcoat kits again in future games.

"Mag-go sila Boss, we'll try to wear it again," Ibanes said.

However, don't expect to see ROS wear a white version of the Welcoat kits as Ibañes also said that they could only wear the alternate jerseys in games where they are the designated dark jersey team.

It means the team will revert to ROS white on Saturday when they play Blackwater—now featuring former Elasto Painters Rey Nambatac and James Yap—in the PBA's first game back at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila after 13 years.

After a one-week break, the Elasto Painters will play three straight games wearing dark jerseys, including an April 20 non-Mega Manila game against the Magnolia Hotshots, also backed jersey-wise by Anta, at the Tiaong Convention Center.

ROS's last elimination round game is on May 3 against NLEX, where the E-Painters are designated to wear white again.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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