RAIN or Shine may not be the most popular of teams in the PBA, but the Elasto Painters are certainly effective endorsers.
`The Bola-luhan at Tapsilogan ni Matias’ of Painters mainstay Ronnie Matias was the first to benefit from it.
Sales of the modest eatery at the heart of Sampaloc, Manila area immediately skyrocketed shortly after the Rain or Shine team was treated to a sumptuous lunch by coach Yeng Guiao in the restaurant owned and operated by the 29-year-old former University of Manila stalwart.
Inquiries about the exact location of the diner even spiked on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook the moment reports came out about the Saturday visit of the Elasto Painters.
“Halos dumoble ang benta namin ngayon, di nga namin alam na magkakaroon kami ng instant advertisement dahil dun,” said an overwhelmed Jheda Matias, wife of the hardworking defensive player of Rain or Shine.
The treat was Guiao’s way of keeping his promise to take the team out for lunch at Matias' eatery should the Elasto Painters register at least 10 wins in the eliminations of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The team came a victory short of the target, but nevertheless made up for it by making the Finals of the all-Filipino tournament for the very first time.
“Hindi ko ini-expect na kakain si coach Yeng dito, kasi tignan mo naman yung area,” said Jheda, aware that Guiao, who is also vice-governor of Pampanga, is not often seen in such a small roadside eatery.
No problem said the down-to-earth coach, owner of no less than six PBA championships.
“Sanay ako kumain sa ganung lugar. Mas matindi pa nga dun `yung pinaglakihan ko sa Mandaluyong,” said Guiao, who spent for the entire lunch of the players, their families, and some guests.
“Gusto ko lang kasing tuparin yung pangako ko sa team. Saka bonding na rin sa mga players na iba naman ang atmosphere,” added Guiao while commending one of his trusted players for finding other means of livelihood outside of basketball.
“Natutuwa ako kay coach Yeng, kasi kung ano bagsik niya sa laro, ganun naman ang bait niya na mag-trato at tumulong sa amin,” said Matias.
“Tinupad pa niya talaga `yung pangako niya kahit nine wins lang kami. Kaya sana kami rin matupad ang pangako sa kanya (to win his first All-Filipino crown).”
Although known around the league as a passionate coach who loathes prima donnas, Guiao also epitomizes the perfect mentor who could be a second father to his players.
That’s the reason why when Beau Belga was reported to be on the trading block early in the season-opening tournament, the tough-playing big man dreaded the thought.
“Hindi ko pinansin `yun. Alam ko kasi pag loyal ka kay coach Yeng, unless talagang no choice, hindi ka niya ipapagpag sa lineup niya,” said Belga, one of the many players who blossomed under the wings of the unorthodox coach.
Even former Elasto Painter gunner Ronjay Buenafe admitted having felt bad after he was surprisingly traded by the team to Meralco shortly after Rain or Shine won its first-ever PBA championship during the Governors Cup last season.
“Madami akong natutunan kay coach Yeng. Magaling siya magbigay ng kumpiyansa, kaya nung na-trade ako naiyak talaga ako,” admitted Buenafe, only to realize later on that what his former coach did was for his own good.
“Ngayon ko nga lang na-isip yun na tama siya (Guiao). Mas nagkaroon ako ng playing time ngayon sa Meralco, tapos naging national player pa ko,” said Buenafe, who is part of the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 set to complete in the 24th Dubai International basketball tournament.
And oh, Guiao paid a total of P7,500 for that entire lunch alone.