AFTER coming close to another PBA championship only to fall short each time over the past two years, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao has had a change of heart.
Since winning the franchise's first and only PBA championship inthe 2012 Governors Cup, Rain or Shine and Guiao have resisted the urge to shake up their team, putting premium on familiarity and togetherness.
But after a series of heartaches in the finals, the veteran coach said he is more open to changes that could make his team better, just so it could finally get over the hump.
“Mas open ako ngayon sa mga changes, hindi kamukha nung dati na nire-resist namin ang mga offers ng trade," the multi-titled coach told Spin.ph on Wednesday. "Pero ngayon, pag may nag-offer ng trade, pinag-aaralan namin."
“Maganda ang performance ng team, may consistency. Nakakarating ng semis, nakakarating ng finals. Pero gusto mo pa ring mag-champion eh. 'Yun pa rin ang hinahanap natin eh,” he added.
Guiao bared he is open to trading away even some of his best players but insisted he is not after superstars from other teams.
Instead, what he wants are players who can fill the loopholes in his team, primarily in the frontline.
“Kung veteran (o stars), sapat na ang veterans ng team namin. Sa palagay ko uubra na 'yung mga 'yun. Ang kulang namin, posisyon,” said the congressman of the first district of Pampanga.
Specifically, he wants a big man who can hold his own against the league's dominant giants.
“Ang kulang namin big man na pantapat kina June Mar (Fajardo), kina (Greg) Slaughter, kina Asi (Taulava). Yan ang kulang namin. Whether bata 'yun o matanda 'yun (big man), it does not matter,” he said.
However, Guiao denied knowledge of two trades that Spin.ph sources said are in the works, including one deal that will have Beau Belga being sent to Barako Bull for sophomore forward Jake Pascual.
Belga is also said to be eyed by either Barangay Ginebra or San Miguel.
Another trade proposal that sources relayed to Spin.ph is Rain or Shine’s bid to acquire Meralco’s fourth pick overall in the August 23 draft, which they intend to swap for workhorse Ryan Arana and former University of Santo Tomas star Jeric Teng.
Teng, sources said, is also being eyed by GlobalPort which wants to reunite the former Tiger with college coach Pido Jarencio.
Guiao insisted those trade proposals have yet to go through him.
“Hindi ko pa alam yung mga 'yun. Kagagaling ko lang sa US kagabi eh. Hindi pa dumadaan sa akin 'yung mga 'yun (trade details),” Guiao said.
“Sa ngayon di ko matiyak kung totoo 'yan o palipad hangin lang. Pero (if ever totoo yan) dadaan rin sa akin 'yan. Meron naman sigurong consultation sa akin 'yan.
"Baka kay (board governor) Atty Mert (Mondragon) o kay boss Raymund (Yu) may kumakausap. Alam nila nasa abroad ako, pero alam nila dumating ako kagabi,” he added.
Another means for Rain or Shine to improve its lineup is through the PBA rookie draft, where the team owns the No. 3 and No. 12 picks in the first round.
Guiao didn't deny that he is looking at former La Salle center Norbert Torres but hinted that he is also interested in Fil-Am Chris Newsome, who experts say is the third best talent in the pool after Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
If the Elasto Painters don't get Torres or Newsome in the first round, there are doubts if they will still be available when the team's turn to pick in the second round comes at 15th and 19th overall.
Listen to PODCAST of interview with Yeng Guiao.