AFTER constantly preaching team play during Rain or Shine's run to a breakthrough championship, Yeng Guiao gets to savor a rare individual honor.
Guiao has won the coveted Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career, beating an elite cast of candidates that included five-time winner Chot Reyes of Talk `N Text and Grand Slam mentor Tim Cone of B-Meg.
The outspoken Guiao, also the vice-governor of Pampanga, will be honored with his second Coach of the Year award -- 11 years after winning his first one with Red Bull -- during the 19th PBA Press Corps awards at the Kamayan Edsa on Monday.
"The championship was rewarding and satisfying since it's very rare these days that teams outside the PLDT and San Miguel groups win titles," Guiao told Spin.ph. "And this award is just part of it."
He added: "To win a championship without the huge resources at the disposal of the big teams, you can appreciate [the Painters' feat] all the more."
Guiao said winning the Coach of the Year is sweeter the second time around since, he said chuckling, "frankly, the first one (in 2001) came too long ago I don't remember how I felt then."
Guiao got the nod of the men and women of the press corps who regularly cover Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league for steering Rain or Shine to its first-ever league championship following a stunning Finals victory over the heavily-favored B-Meg side during the Governors Cup title series.
The title feat came after the Elasto Painters finished dead last and failed to qualify for the playoffs of the Commissioner’s Cup a conference earlier.
Reyes and Cone also put themselves in the running for leading their respective teams to a championship during the course of the season. Under Reyes, Talk `N text became the first team in the last 27 years to win the Philippine Cup title in back-to-back fashion, while Cone led the Llamados to the Commissioner’s Cup crown by beating the Tropang Texters in a dramatic Game Seven that went into overtime.
“It’s a great honor for me and my family to be appreciated for the work we have done the past season. My gratitude goes to the guys of the PBA Press Corps,” said Guiao.
Then he quickly added, “parang acceptance speech na `yan.”
But turning serious, the former Philippine Basketball League commissioner said he’s grateful to Rain or Shine co-team owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que for giving him their trust to hand over and develop a young but promising franchise.
“Thank you to Boss Raymund and Boss Terry for the trust and confidence,” said Guiao, owner of six PBA championships.
“To my players, thanks for giving their best and putting up with me,” Guiao added. "To my coaching staff, I share this award with them for sharing my vision and making it theirs.”
Reyes, the most decorated in the history of the award with five, paid tribute to Guiao for the honor in his tweeter account@coachot.
“Congrats to Yeng 4 being voted Coach of d Year by d PBAPC. Well-deserved. Sorry #tntnation I guess d 1st All Fil back2back in 27yrs wasn’t enuf.”
Reyes was the first recipient of the title first handed out in 1993.
Aside from Guiao and Cone, other two-time winners of the award are Jong Uichico, Perry Ronquillo, and Ryan Gregorio.