WAYNE Chism stepped on the free throw line in the first quarter and motioned Paul Lee to go closer to him.
He then looked at NLEX coach Yeng Guiao and told him, “Looks familiar?”
Of course, both Chism and Lee were former stalwarts of Guiao back in their Rain or Shine days, but now, with them being on opposing sides, the three couldn’t help but share a hearty laugh.
“It shows a lot of how you love this game. Everybody misses each other and I missed them too,” said Chism.
But things are different now, and with Chism now donning the Magnolia colors, he knows that all is fair in love and war.
The former Tennessee standout did go to work and unload 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals in his debut for the Hotshots en route to a 116-89 rout of the Road Warriors.
He wouldn’t deny, though, how awkward it was playing in the league for the first time opposite of Guiao.
“It's always good feelings with coach Yeng. I mean, we've been together for a while and this is the first time I'm playing against him and against his team. It was very tough to start off cause I know coach knows me and what my tendencies are, so I had to adjust real quick,” he said. “Other than that, I'm very happy I played against him just to see how it is on the other side. It was fun, I really enjoyed it.”
As nostalgic as Chism was, his focus is now with Magnolia, which secured itself at least a playoff for the eighth spot in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with the victory. And he’s happy that his side was able to pull off the win in his first game back.
“It was very important, today's game, to get my teammates' confidence up, and show 'em that we can win games so that we can get them back on the winning track,” he said.
Chism is hopeful that with everything coming together for the Hotshots, they can make a memorable run to the playoffs.
“I'm here to help the team win and build confidence with the team and help them get their confidence back. I can't downtalk the other imports because they did a good job while they were here. It's just that it didn't work out,” he said.
“Other than that, I'm here to help the guys, not to take over anything from them or take anything from 'em, just like today's game, the game was very very fast, everybody was moving the ball, everybody was touching and scoring the ball, so that shows the team is getting back the chemistry that they used to have.“