RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is eager to keep his local core in the hopes of sustaining the chemistry the Elasto Painters have built, which they can showcase starting the next PBA season.
After the Elasto Painters’ season came to a stunning end on Wednesday night after falling short of reaching the playoffs, RoS stars Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, and JR Quinahan lead 10 players with expiring contracts who are hoping to secure renewal deals with management.
While admitting it won’t be easy, Guiao is upbeat of getting all of them back.
“Contract negotiations are always challenging, but I’m confident that we can manage and sa sampu, if you have an eighty to ninety-percent batting average, maganda-ganda na yun,” the champion coach said. “Baka one-hundred percent pa nga eh.”
Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu, and rookie Maverick Ahanmisi are just two of the few E-Painters with live contracts.
Guiao, who has begun talks with management on the renewal of his own three-year contract that is also about to end, stressed the importance of continuity.
“That’s been our philosophy: we try to keep the team together with minor changes, because we try to build up on our chemistry, our camaraderie, and familiarity,” Guiao said. “Hindi talaga kami sanay na maraming bago, umaalis o pumapasok. Hindi ganun ang philosophy at character ng team namin.”
Asked if there’ a particular position he still wants to strengthen, Guiao is content of his current roster ahead of the season-opening Philippine Cup.
“Wala na eh. Okay na ako actually,” the veteran coach beamed. “Siguro magkakaroon lang ng position na palalakasin if, in the unlikely situation, where mayroon hindi kami mapapapirma dun sa regulars namin, then yung position na yun ang hahanapin namin.”
“But as of now, if we can sign up the ten guys, wala na akong hahanapin,” he added. “I think we can compete in the all-Filipino.”
With the absence of talented big men available anyway, Guiao said he will just have to make do with his lineup in the hopes of stopping June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter.
“Pwede ka mag-ambisyon na pantapat kay June Mar o kay Slaughter, pero kahit saan ka maghanap, wala kang makikita eh, so huwag na lang,” Guiao said. “We will just have to find ways to defend him and play with the material that we have.”