FOR the third time in his more than two decades of coaching in the PBA, Yeng Guiao gets another shot at winning the most prominent of championships that has time and again eluded him.
Guiao put himself within reach of a first-ever Philippine Cup title after Rain or Shine finished off San Mig Coffee Thursday night, 90-83, and advanced to the best-of-seven title series.
This will be Guiao’s third attempt at bagging an All-Filipino crown after failing in his two previous bids back in 1991 (Sarsi) and 2005 (Red Bull). He has six league championships to his name.
And the outspoken mentor and Pampanga vice-governor said its either boom or bust for him.
“Either you win it or you strike out,” said Guiao shortly after the Painters wrapped up the semis series, 4-2, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Of his two previous trips to the All-Filipino Finals, the 1991 stint was the closest he came to winning the championship, losing the series in the deciding Game Five against Purefoods after rallying from an 0-2 deficit.
He likewise lost to Purefoods in the 2005 Final in six games while at the helm of Red Bull.
Now that his Elasto Painters have eliminated this latest generation of Purefoods team (predecessor of San Mig), Guiao wants to savor Rain or Shine’s second straight trip to the championship round.
“Ayoko munang mag-isip. Lalo lang akong nape-pressure,” he admitted. “I just want the boys to enjoy the series, for them to savor the moment."
Other than winning the All-Filipino crown, Guiao said the Finals stint could be a way for Rain or Shine to prove that it can win a championship without the benefit of an import.
The Elasto Painters beat the Mixers in the deciding Game Seven of the import-laden Governors Cup to win their first-ever PBA title.
“Jamelle Cornley was a big factor for us (in the Governors Cup),” the Rain or Shine coach admitted.
“So we want to prove something. You always want to prove something every night, every conference. Kaya that’s a big motivation for us, na manalo ng championship ng kami-kami lang.”