By REYNALD MAGALLON
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Despite needing five games to finally barge into the win column in the 2023 William Jones Cup, Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao is proud to see his team hold its own against national teams and top clubs across the region.
In the middle of criticisms from fans following a rough 0-4 start in the tournament, Guiao was quick to remind everyone what level of competition his team is playing against in the Jones Cup.
“Club team lang tayo pero at least lumalaban tayo sa mga national teams. Baka kasi di naiinttindihan ng mga kababayan natin kung anong klaseng competition dito,” said Guiao as the Elasto Painters finally ended their strings of futility with a 98-90 double-overtime win over Iran.
So far, Rain or Shine fell to the hands of Chinese Taipei A and B but also only narrowly losing to the national teams of UAE and Qatar.
Although the Filipinos finally picked up their first win, it’s not going to get easier from there on as they are still facing Anyang KGC, Japan U22 national team and NCAA Division I team UC Irvine.
“Ang club teams lang dito yung Korea at tayo. ‘Yung Korea champion yun ng KBL, tayo di pa naman tayo nagchachampion sa Pilipinas. At ‘yung isang team dito na malakas yung UC Irvine na Division 1 NCAA team, champion sa conference nila, umabot yan sila sa march madness,” Guiao pointed out.
“Ganun kaganda at ganun kahirap yung competition dito kaya maganda na experience sa mga bata,” he added.
The fiery mentor, however, admitted that his wards could have won one or two more games in the previous four games if only they were able to quickly adjust to international play.
Guiao felt that it was only against Iran where ROS showed some fluidity on both ends of the floor.
“Ngayon palang dumarating yung opensa natin. Kung ganito yung nilaro natin nung at least first three games baka may naipanalo tayong isa dalawa dun,” Guiao rued.
“Kung ganito na yung opensa natin, medyo nakaadjust na tayo sa officiating, sa tawagan at least siguro yung sa UAE, natalo tayo ng two points baka at least kahit yun man lang (naipanalo) and mas nailaban pa natin yung ibang mga laro,” he added.
Guiao, though, was quick to move on from the losses and instead focused on taking in the lessons learned from the defeat.
“Ganun talaga tanggapin natin na merong period of adjustment, yung challenge dun sa adjustment di natin nagawa agad,” he added.