Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao knows how it feels to be beaten by import Michael Qualls.
That’s why the seven-time champion coach heaved a sigh of relief after the Elasto Painters formally tapped Qualls to be their reinforcement in the Governors’ Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association starting 22 January.
“This is the same import who beat us,” Guiao told Daily Tribune in an interview.
“I’m glad that he is now on our side. That’s a factor in getting him. If you can recall, this is the same guy who tormented us. He won’t be a burden anymore as he is now going to play for us.”
Guiao was the head coach and general manager of NLEX when Qualls torched the Road Warriors while playing for NorthPort in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Governors’ Cup.
So, when Qualls became available, Guiao didn’t hesitate to bring him on board despite being shorter than other imports who will see action in the season-ending conference.
“One of the things you will notice about Michael Qualls is his energy. It’s boundless,” Guiao added.
“The way he plays the game is also the same way he practices. He’s very athletic.”
Guiao stressed that Qualls may be short at 6-foot-4 but has what it takes to lead them to the title.
“His energy and athleticism were the deciding factors even though we know he’s shorter than other imports. We’re going to be losing two inches from the other imports who can maximize the height limit,” Guiao said.
“We’re already a small team and we’re getting a smaller import, but we thought that his lack of height is being compensated by his athleticism, his aggressiveness, his energy. We decided that even though he’s smaller than the rest of the imports, he would be a good fit as import for us. I’ve seen how he plays.”
Guiao is excited to have Qualls joining his young team, which returned to the playoffs in the Commissioner’s Cup after getting eliminated early for two straight conferences.
Similar to the young Rain or Shine squad he led to two titles and numerous finals and playoff runs, this new breed of Painters has the potential to take it to the next level and become consistent playoff performer.
“I’m amazed by the fast development of this team. I’ve been here for only a conference, yet it feels like I’ve been coaching them for a long time, so I have to give credit to Coach Caloy (Garcia) and coach Chris Gavina in laying the foundation of this team,” Guiao said.
“I feel that with a good import on board, we have a good chance of making a deep playoff run. If the last time we were able to make it to the quarterfinals, making the semis is definitely a realistic goal and that would be our objective this coming conference.”