Yeng Guiao formally attended his first training session for Rain or Shine in preparation for the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
He liked what he saw.
The seven-time champion coach yesterday said the Elasto Painters have the character, the skills and the desire to contend, but they still have to work hard if they want to win the title of the midseason conference that starts on 21 September.
Hopes are high on the Elasto Painters following Guiao’s return from a five-year stint with NLEX.
In fact, the 63-year-old mentor will be handling a very youthful squad that has Andrei Caracut, Shaun Ildefonso, Mike Nieto, Rey Nambatac and Gian Mamuyac as cornerstones.
The only senior players are Guiao’s former players in Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga and Jewel Ponferrada as well as James Yap, who missed the previous conference to gun for an elective position.
Guiao said he hopes to be part of their development.
“Our first practice was basically just an orientation. I met them and I introduced myself,” said Guiao, who is thrilled to handle the future batch of stars.
“I’m excited to handle them because they have a very good potential. I hope I can be part of their development and progress as they go along with their respective careers in the league.”
Guiao said he was warmly welcomed by the veterans as well as his coaching staff led by Caloy Garcia and Chris Gavina, the erstwhile head coach who slid to a deputy role to give way for Guiao’s arrival.
“We’ve been together for quite a while so it’s nothing new,” Guiao said, adding that putting up a serious fight is their ultimate goal in this import-flavored conference.
“The problem is that the time is short. The conference will start in three weeks and we have to work double time to adjust and finetune everything. The time that we have is very short.”
Gavina said Guiao’s arrival sparks hope and optimism to the ballclub, which won its two titles under the former Pampanga governor.
“Coach Yeng’s first day went smooth,” Gavina said.
“He laid out what’s expected to us assistant coaches and he clarified his principles of his coaching philosophy to the team and the players were quite receptive right away in what be expects from them and what they can expect from him.”
“Great optimism moving forward throughout the entire team.”
Gavina added that in particular it was Yap who was very thrilled to play under Guiao for the first time in his career.
“Great optimism in getting both guys back and I’m sure James is excited in being able to be utilized by coach Yeng,” he said.
“I’m sure he’ll work double time in his conditioning.”