Clarkson, Blatche prove Guiao wrong: 'Pusong Pinoy sila'
MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao considers himself lucky to have handled Jordan Clarkson and Andray Blatche. Not only do they have tremendous talent, the two Filipino-Americans also conduct themselves well off court.
The Gilas Pilipinas mentor admitted both Clarkson and Blatche proved him wrong as he had expected the two to come off as "arrogant" due to their stature as NBA-caliber players.
"[N]oong una, akala ko medyo, because of their status, because of the kind of money they earn, because of the level of play they play in, akala ko medyo snob sila, arrogant sila, or sa Tagalog, mayabang," he said on Rappler Talk.
(At first, because of their status, because of the kind of money they earn, because of the level they play in, I thought they were snobs and arrogant.)
"They're farthest from that. They're regular guys, pusong Pinoy sila (they have the heart of a Filipino). They like the team, they like the coaching staff. I hope they like me. They really played hard for the Philippines."
Donning the Philippine colors for the first time in the 2018 Asian Games, Clarkson proved worthy of the hype surrounding him by helping the country land its best Asiad finish in 16 years.
Blatche, meanwhile, rose to the occasion as he steered the Philippines to the FIBA World Cup for the second straight time.
Both feat happened under Guiao's tutelage.
"It's really a privilege working with two NBA players of their caliber. I don't know if there's any other national coach who've been able to be in that position, so I'm very lucky to be able to do that," Guiao said.
With the World Cup in the horizon, Guiao hopes the two could team up and form a deadly combo for the Philippines.
"The enthusiasm for them to play is just great. I thought they had a chip on their shoulders when I first encountered them, but no, they're just really humble guys, they're regular guys, they fool around with the team."
"They actually still get in touch on a regular basis with their teammates even while they're playing in the NBA or playing in China. So that's the kind of bond that they have developed with the team," Guiao added.
"I'm also excited to have them both play for the national team again. I have nothing but respect for those guys and for the pusong Pinoy that they displayed." – Rappler.com