Veteran tactician Yeng Guiao will finally get the opportunity of coaching Scottie Thompson when he calls the shots in the Philippine Basketball Association All-Star Game on 12 March in Passi, Iloilo.
Guiao said coaching Thompson’s Team Scottie is the closest thing he ever got to mentoring the do-it-all former Perpetual star in the professional ranks.
Although he coached him in several windows of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Guiao admitted that being on the same team as Thompson in an All-Star event is truly heartwarming.
“This is the closest thing coaching Scottie in the PBA,” Guiao, who will go up against Tim Cone and Team Japeth in the annual festivities, told Daily Tribune.
“Although I did have an opportunity coaching him in several windows leading to the World Cup.”
Thompson used to be on the radar of Guiao as early as the 2015 Annual Rookie Draft when Rain or Shine was preparing to pick for the third overall selection.
Thompson, then the Most Valuable Player of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was set to be tapped by Guiao but the Rain or Shine management had a change of heart and opted for Filipino-American guard Maverick Ahanmisi, instead.
“It was an agonizing decision. We were split, actually, until we came up with a decision to pick Maverick,” said Guiao, looking back eight years ago when the team made a decision to pick Ahanmisi over Thompson.
“But back then, I already knew how talented Scottie was, what he can do to a team.”
But one of the things Rain or Shine considered before was its need for a point guard.
At that time, the Elasto Painters were loaded at the shooting guard in Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu and Jericho Cruz.
“We were also preparing for the possible departure of Paul Lee, then,” Guiao said.
Guiao clarified that he didn’t have regrets when the Elasto Painters selected Ahanmisi.
“We won a championship with him in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup and he has been a key contributor in the squad,” Guiao said.
“We couldn’t tell as well if Scottie would be a good fit for us with the roster that we had back then. He was more tailor-fit for Ginebra.”
In the coming All-Star game, the seven-time champion will now have this moment coaching Thompson, who will be joined by Ginebra teammate Christian Standhardinger, CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer, Calvin Abueva of Magnolia, Robert Bolick and Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, Kevin Alas of NLEX, Jayson Castro of TNT, Stanley Pringle of Barangay Ginebra, Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer, Mark Barroca of Magnolia and two-time MVP James Yap of Rain or Shine.
Team Japeth will have six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Jamie Malonzo of Ginebra, Chris Newsome of Meralco, RR Pogoy of TNT, LA Tenorio of Ginebra, Mikey Williams of TNT, Paul Lee of Magnolia, Jeremiah Gray of Ginebra, Gian Mamuyac of Rain or Shine, Nards Pinto of Ginebra and Terrance Romeo of San Miguel Beer.