YENG Guiao doesn’t see another player scoring more than a hundred points the way his former import Tony Harris did when he took the PBA by storm more than two decades ago.
At least not in his lifetime.
“Hindi na siguro. I think that record will stand for a long time,” said the 59-year-old Guiao when asked if he expects to see the scoring feat being equalled or surpassed in the future.
For one, the rules of the game have changed drastically to make such a feat even harder to achieve, said Guiao, pointing to the old illegal defense that discourages the zone defense during PBA games.
“The way the game is played now? And also the rules?” he said. “Kasi noon meron pang illegal defense. So yung mga talented na one-on-one players, talagang may advantage kasi may illegal defense as everybody had to step out of the lane.
“That’s one reason why I feel na hindi na mauulit, kasi pati yung rules iba na, pati yung style of play iba na.”
Guiao pondered about the historical individual performance by the man they called the ‘Hurricane’ to mark the 26th anniversary of the PBA scoring record that Harris set by pouring 105 points in a bruising 151-147 win by Swift over Ginebra in an out-of-town game in Ilollo held on October 10 during the 1992 Third Conference.
The mark erased the previous all-time record of 103 points owned by Michael Hackett and made on Nov. 21, 1985 as he powered Ginebra to a 197-168 win over Great Taste in the 1985 Reinforced Conference.
It was in the same tournament where Guiao eventually won his breakthrough championship as coach in the pro league.
But more than that, it was the amazing offensive brilliance of Harris, now 51, that made it one of the most memorable moments of his coaching career, according to Guiao, the current NLEX Road Warriors mentor.
Rare is the opportunity after all, for a coach to witness his player scored in the 100 plus.
“First time yun,” said a smiling Guiao, who just filed his Certificate Of Candidacy (COC) on Monday to seek a return to Congress as representative of Pampanga’s first district.
That Harris did it against a dreaded Ginebra defense that has bruisers Chito Loyzaga, Sonny Cabatu, Macky De Joya, Larry Villanil, and coached by the incomparable Robert Jaworski Sr. made it more remarkable.
“I was surprised. I know he was a very talented, dominating player. But to do that against Ginebra, and to set a record against Ginebra, parang hindi siya possible,” said Guiao.
“But that’s how good and how tough (Harris) was.”
Actually, eight days after breaking the league record, Harris was at it again after erupting for 98 points in another road game in Davao which netted Swift a 179-161 win over Presto.
In all, the ‘Hurricane’ owned four of the league’s all-time one-game individual records as he also scored 87 in a 134-108 Swift win over San Miguel and 82 points, respectively.
It was the game against Ginebra that remained the standard to this day.
Harris, who later suited up for the Boston Celtics after his stint in the Philippines, already showed a portent of things to come as he exploded for 59 points – also the most points in a half by any player in PBA history - by halftime of a game which Guiao recalled as ‘very physical.’
“I think the physicality of the game helped Tony Harris scored that many points, because the game was always tough,” he said.
With Ginebra trying its best to contain Harris, the import ended up attempting 53 free throws and converting 45 of them for a high 85 percent, also a league record.
“The game was always stopped, natitigil yung laro for him to make free throws,” said Guiao.
Not only was Harris making a living from the foul line, he was also making his outside shots, shooting six three-pointers and making 21 of his attempts from two-point range.
“Ginebra just could not find a way to stop him to the point that he was actually being battered,” said Guiao with a smile on his face.
The champion coach was aware during the latter of the match that Harris was nearing the league scoring mark, but given the kind of defense provided by Ginebra, Guiao also was a bit concerned about his import that he asked the Louisiana native if he wanted to rest.
The warrior in Harris said no.
“Sabi niya, ‘I’m ok. I will play, and I can take it,” said Guiao.
And so Harris went on and provided the single most spectacular performance by any player in the history of the PBA.