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The honeymoon is over, apparently, between the NLEX Road Warriors and coach Yeng Guiao.
NLEX players got a taste of how ‘fiery’ Guiao can be when the new coach spewed fire and venom after the team’s defeat to the Star Hotshots in their PBA Philippine Cup game last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After winning their first match this season via overtime against Alaska (99-97), NLEX has now dropped back-to-back games, first against Meralco (93-106) and then to Star (75-99).
It was against the Hotshots that Guiao unleashed his anger after the Road Warriors allowed the Hotshots to hit more than 50 percent from the field (36-of-69) and commit 31 turnovers, which Star translated to 36 points.
Star also controlled the boards, 44-38.
“It’s partly frustration, but more than frustration,” said Guiao of his outburst as he let his players figure out what to do by not calling a timeout when Star was turning things around in the fourth period.
“Its’ really teaching them how to take care of themselves, not relying on other people to bail them out. It’s a little unorthodox, but that’s been the way I’ve been teaching my players ever since, sa lahat naman ng na-handle ko na team.”
“Marami pa silang sigaw at murang maririnig sa akin hanggang sa matuto sila,” added Guiao, who has coached four teams, the last being Rain or Shine before joining NLEX prior to the season.
NLEX players Kevin Alas and Garvo Lanete understand that what Guiao did will eventually benefit the team, knowing it benefitted the teams that were handled by the veteran coach.
“Kilala naman natin si coach Yeng na ganun, ang nakita naman natin kung ano nagawa niya sa mga teams na na-handle nya,” said Alas, referring to Swift, Red Bull and Rain or Shine which have all won championships under Guiao.
“It’s also a test of our character, how we’ll recover from those two straight losses,” Lanete said. “It’s nothing personal naman, ganun talaga si coach Yeng, nakikita natin yun when he was still with Rain or Shine.”
Guiao said he hopes that his new team would adapt quickly, not only to his style but more so with the system.
“It’s something they will learn very quickly. It’s part of the character-building process. We’ll take these losses, but I’ll make sure they remember them. I’ll make sure also they’re able to contemplate, maisip nila sa sarili nila kung ano yung mga pagkukulang nila dun sa mga sitwasyon na yun.”
“Konting sabon pa, pabulain pa natin ng konti,” Guiao said in jest. “I think they should feel that and that’s part of the pressure that they have to handle. I have to put that pressure on them in order to make them feel that professional basketball is about playing under pressure and delivering under pressure.”