WHEN RSG PH entered the press room, Coach Brian “Panda” Lim didn’t hesitate to discipline his players, asking them to remove any unnecessary objects on the table and telling them to sit up straight.
A stickler for discipline and armed with unshaken philosophies in coaching, it can be argued that he is the Sir Alex Ferguson of the MPL-PH scene.
There are a lot of similarities. For instance, back when he was coaching ArkAngel Ownage, Coach Panda reprimanded his team for being late for practice. Things grew worse when he found the culprit behind a bottle of alcohol inside the bootcamp.
He didn’t hesitate and smashed it in front of his players.
As Coach Panda related to Spin.ph: “That was the first time I actually exploded in front of my players because they were giving me stupid reasons they’re trying to hide, and I told them, ‘This is the bullsh*t you’re trying to show me?'”
It was a true Sir Alex Ferguson moment. Remember when the Man U coach got frustrated with the drinking habits of his players to the point that he started axing players like Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside?
Then comes their leadership styles. In Ferguson's autobiography Leading, he once wrote: “My job was to make everyone understand that the impossible was possible.”
Coach Panda would likely say something similar. Just like how Ferguson improbably turned an aging Manchester squad into kingslayers, no one thought that a team of so-called outcasts would slowly make waves in Season 8 and stun everyone by winning the MPL trophy in Season 9.
For Coach Panda, everything was part of the plan
“So I never believed that there was a really bad player," said Panda in a press conference after the championship . "But just people calling players that they’re chop suey, outcasts because that is what people see on the outside. So when I actually get these players, it is either through instinct or I know them personally because they’re all part of my head."
As is his habit, Coach Panda brought out the metaphors.
“So all players are good, it’s just that when I choose players, parang I’m drawing a picture. There’s a picture that I want. Of course I need to pick the colors that I need. If I’m going to draw on a canvas, I also need what tools that I’m going to use.”
He added: “When I first start, I need to think which outline, circle, or triangle, and which part of the canvas I’m going to start. That’s how I start every single time when I form a team.”
Very Sir Alex Ferguson-esque, indeed.