Yeng Guiao admits former team Rain or Shine 'a hard habit to break'
Tongue in cheek, Yeng Guiao admitted he mistakenly checked the games of Rain or Shine and not NLEX when he was handed a copy of the Philippine Cup schedule. Jerome Ascano

THE attachment Yeng Guiao had with Rain or Shine was too deep he admitted mistakenly checking on the schedule of his former team instead of NLEX in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.

It was one habit the outspoken mentor hasn’t kicked even more than a month since he parted ways with the franchise he steered to two league championships in almost six years as head coach.

“Naninibago ako pati sa schedule, ang tinitingnan ko schedule ng Rain or Shine, sa NLEX na pala ako,” Guiao disclosed, eliciting laughter from members of the media shortly after he won his first official game for the Road Warriors on Friday night, 99-97, in overtime at the expense of Alaska.

“Malaking adjustment,” added Guiao, who initially groped for words as he tried to reflect when asked if he hasn’t gotten used to being with a new team.

[See Mahindra guard Alex Mallari admits missing former team Star: 'That's my family']

One can’t blame the 57-year-old former congressman from the 1st district of Pampanga.

The Elasto Painters became synonymous to Guiao the moment he joined the team in 2011 and brought a winning culture to a former expansion franchise that, until then, was struggling to get to the next level.

And for a team which many referred to as lacking in star, Guiao was definitely its most celebrated figure.

All of those are now in the past.

“Mentally, I’ve already accepted that,” said the former national team mentor. “It’s just going to be the habits that you formed before na kailangang ma-break mo lang ulit.”

Obviously, he’s still keeping track of his former team, noting the big 101-87 win Rain or Shine pulled off against TNT Katropa in its all-Filipino debut.

“I’m proud of what they did, of what they’ve accomplished especially in their first game,” said Guiao. “Of course, I’ll miss them but they are now competitors.”

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He also said former lead deputy Caloy Garcia deserves to inherit the job he vacated at Rain or Shine, pointing out no other person is deserving of the promotion than the former St. Benilde stalwart.

“Coach Caloy was ready to coach that team a long time ago. Nakahanda naman siya,” said the multi-titled coach.

“The only obstacle was myself. I was the obstacle, and I’m not there anymore, so that's his team and he's doing a good job.”

The same goes for Guiao at NLEX.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos