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Alvark’s Luka Pavicevic, Jets’ Atsushi Ono Leave Teams After Successful Coaching Stints

The departing Tokyo and Chiba bench bosses guided the perennial title contenders with astute leadership and passion.

Luka Pavicevic (left) and Atsushi Ono guided the Alvark Tokyo and Chiba Jets to a combined three B.League titles. The Alvark won in 2018 and 2019, and the Jets triumphed in 2021. (B.LEAGUE)

Two days after the Utsunomiya Brex captured the 2021-22 B.League Finals title, the Alvark Tokyo and Chiba Jets announced that they are moving forward without their title-winning head coaches.

Luka Pavicevic is leaving Tokyo after five seasons at the helm.

Atsushi Ono is finished in Chiba after six seasons in charge.

Both teams issued news releases on Tuesday, May 31 announcing the departure of their longtime bench bosses. The Alvark labeled Pavicevic’s exit a mutual agreement, as did the Jets in reference to Ono.

The Alvark and the Jets are the only other franchises in league history to win titles.

Tokyo won back-to-back titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19, defeating the Jets in the championship final both times. 

The 2019-20 season ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The playoffs were canceled.

As a result, the Alvark were technically the reigning champions when the 2020-21 season began. The Jets were the better team, however, and advanced to the championship round, which became a best-of-three format for the first time. Chiba defeated Utsunomiya in three games.

In Ono’s six seasons as Chiba’s coach, and the team’s only sideline supervisor since the B.League’s inception in 2016, the Jets had a 248-74 overall record in the regular season, including 35-10 in 2021-22. They set a franchise record by going 52-8 in 2018-19.

Pavicevic compiled a 191-79 record in his five seasons at Tokyo. The Alvark went 39-14 this past season.

In May, the Shimane Susanoo Magic defeated the Alvark in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Brex eliminated the Alvark in the first round.

Pavicevic Reflects on his Alvark Tenure

Looking back on his five seasons leading the perennial title contenders, the Montenegrin mentor called it a rewarding experience.

“As the head coach of the Alvark Tokyo, I feel that I have had an irreplaceable time for the past five years,” Pavicevic said in a statement. “I would like to thank Toyota Motor Corporation and the management of Alvark Tokyo for giving me such an opportunity.

“It is an honor to always aim for the B League championship and lead the elite team on the court while competing. I am also grateful to all the players for their constant dedication and dedication to the many difficulties and adversities that only we faced. I would like to thank the front-desk staff, team staff, coaches, trainers, and everyone involved with the Alvark for their daily support in building a strong basketball culture.”

Pavicevic, who turns 54 on June 17, also paid tribute to the team’s fans.

“Lastly, Alvark fans, I will continue to be connected with you like a family,” he said. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your love and warm support. Thank you very much for five years.”

Ono Grateful for His Experience with Jets

As Ono thought back on his successful stint leading the Jets, he said he had many people to thank.

“I am deeply grateful to all the players, team staff and front-desk staff who have been with me since I came to the Jets,” Ono said in a statement.

Ono described his overall experience with the Jets as satisfying, crediting the players for making it all worthwhile.

“I’ve been telling the players what they can do as professionals to win and to make the people who support them happy,” Ono acknowledged. “They understood the meaning and continued to make efforts [to excel]. I wanted to see that smile that they would show when they achieved the big thing of winning, and I wanted to share that sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with the players, so I was able to do it for six years.

“I had a happy time surrounded by really the best players. Thank you, everyone.”

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven. 

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