COACH Yeng Guiao was all business during first practice with the Philippine team, although he admitted he felt nostalgic as he reunited with his former players at Rain or Shine.
“Namiss ko sila actually,” said Guiao on Monday as the squad being assembled for the Asian Games finally got together in training.
“I miss them. But you know, you have to get over that kasi wala ka na eh. But every once in a while, it’s okay to be in a situation like this where you recall, reminisce, and enjoy the good old days."
But Guiao noted that work comes first as they eye a solid finish in the Asiad.
“We feel good. They are having fun, especially being together after a long time. Na-miss nila si Paul, na-miss nila mga ibang kasama nila. But we have to buckle down to serious work, serious business in the next few days,” said Guiao.
First day of the reunion went well for Guiao and the Philippine team composed of the core of Rain or Shine, which he coached before making the move to NLEX.
“We practice very lightly actually in the evening because I know they practice hard in the mornings with their mother teams. That’s where they get their strength training, that’s where they get their conditioning. Ito memorization lang ng mga players so I cannot really demand a lot from them. I just want them to be able to mentally absorb the running of the system and the plays,” said Guiao.
In between practices, Guiao would take a brief break or take a call from someone on his cellphone, a routine that Beau Belga also misses.
“Alam ni coach ‘yun (na nami-miss ko siya),” said Belga. “Lagi ko naman nakakausap ’yun. Nakaka-miss. Nakaka-miss ’yung sistema, plus ’yung atmosphere sa ensayo. Tapos ’yung pagtetelepono ni coach Yeng during practice.”
Gabe Norwood also felt good hearing Guiao bark orders again, but this time on bigger mission. Norwood also paid tribute to his current coach Caloy Garcia in reaching this far as being an assistant coach of the national team for the Asiad.
“Coach Caloy really did a good job of learning from that time that Coach Yeng took over. I came in with Coach Caloy in my first couple of years, Coach Yeng came in and Coach Caloy kind of just built on what he tried to set for our foundation. So there’s a lot of similar things, but to hear his voice again... Right back to it,” said Norwood.
Guiao was also happy the Rain or Shine players still remembers his system, thanks to Garcia.
“Actually, one reason naalala nila, Coach Caloy adopted the old system when I was there, tapos pinaganda pa niya. Dinagdagan niya ng sarili niyang inputs. So I can appreciate my old system getting better. So that’s why nagtutulungan na lang kami,” said Guiao.