MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao admittedly did not think much of his Rain or Shine crew when he accepted the offer to come back as the Elasto Painters’ head coach.
This version of Rain or Shine, after all, is far from the distinguished Elasto Painters side he guided to two PBA championships.
Only Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, and Jewel Ponferada remain from the last time Guiao coached Rain or Shine as it opted to go young by drafting the likes of Gian Mamuyac, Mike Nieto, Santi Santillan, Anton Asistio, and Andrei Caracut.
Through six games since his return at the helm, though, Guiao has been proven wrong.
“I’m pleasantly surprised. I even tell them that,” said Guiao in a mix of Filipino and English. “Coming from the outside, if you look at the team, you’d probably belittle them.”
“But when you’re already inside, you’re going to see their potential, you’re going to see their desire, their motivation.”
The Elasto Painters’ young brigade thrilled Guiao anew as Rain or Shine turned back Meralco in a 113-96 win on Saturday, October 22, behind a pair of promising performances from rookie Mamuyac and sophomore Nieto.
Mamuyac netted a career-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, while Nieto fired a career-high-tying 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from three-point distance.
Caracut and Asistio also delivered with 10 and 9 points, respectively.
“I’m really impressed with our young guys. They have big hearts and they know how to fight,” Guiao said. “[T]he upside that these guys have is really great. And they’ve proven that.”
A mentor known for letting his players get an earful whenever they make mistakes, Guiao bared his new players have yet to get a taste of his infamous wrath.
“They’re not hard to deal with. When you say something, they’ll do it. I’ve never gotten angry at them. They’ve never experienced me being furious,” said the 63-year-old Guiao.
“I’m glad that is not the case because when you’re getting old, always getting angry is bad for your health. You’ll probably suffer a heart attack. They’re making me live a longer life,” he added with a smile. – Rappler.com