DAVAO – Yeng Guiao has high expectations on Rain or Shine’s rookies so much so he believes they could greatly aid the Elasto Painters in their championship bid in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup.
The Elasto Painters collide with the Alaska Aces at the University of Southeastern Philippines here in one of three games to be simultaneously played in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to usher the league’s 39th season Sunday.
The team is expected to be joined in the 5:15 p.m. game by rookie big man Raymond Almazan, who flew here Saturday night fresh from the NCAA Finals between San Beda and Letran, which the Red Lions won.
But with or without Almazan, Guiao said the Elasto Painters are ready to take on the Aces, who only added three key players in their roster during the offseason led by former ABL (Asean Basketball League) MVP Leo Avenido, along with rookies Ryan Buenafe and Chris Eximiniano.
“We’re not yet 100 percent but you can’t expect the team to be 100 percent this early,” Guiao said. “At least, we can see the jelling of the rookies and the veterans in the past (preseason) games.”
Guiao said the entry of rookies Almazan along with Alex Nuyles and Jeric Teng will give veteran shooters Paul Lee and Jeff Chan the much-needed scoring support this season.
“It (entry of Nuyles and Teng) will be like filling up a hole that was open for the team the past conference. And their entry will be like fitting in the last few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle,” added Guiao, whose team finished runner-up in this same conference last season.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said the Aces’ biggest advantage this season is having an intact roster with veterans Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio and JV Casio, along with sophomore forward Calvin Abueva leading the way.
“I’m happy with what we have and hopefully, the chemistry will show this conference again,” Trillo said.
The Aces are 0-3 in preseason games, but that hardly alarmed the newly-minted Coach of the Year awardee.
Trillo believes the preseason gave them an opportunity to fine tune some parts of their game that needs improvement.