ROOKIE Will McAloney has yet to officially play his first PBA game, but he already has a ‘welcome moment’ in the league.
Courtesy of no other than his coach at NLEX, Yeng Guiao.
The bruising big man recalled the first time he got a sample of Guiao’s infamous on-court temperament during a preseason pocket tournament held last February and involving other teams such as San Miguel, Phoenix, and Alaska.
The 6-foot-5 McAloney was actually doing good against the Aces, and had scored on three straight and-1 situations.
There’s one problem, though.
“Yung free throws di ko ma-convert,” the rookie admitted.
And so he heard not-so nice words from a fuming Guiao on the sidelines.
“SInigawan niya ako, '@#$%^& free throws hindi mo ma-shoot,'” said McAloney, who was able to laugh about the incident now.
But not then.
“Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko eh, kasi first time kong na-ganun, sinigawan ako.”
But those who had been used to Guiao’s volcanic temper gave him comforting words and assured him there’s nothing personal to it.
“Sabi nila Kiefer (Ravena), ni kuya JR (Quinahan), normal lang yan,” he said. “Welcome to PBA. Ganyan yan.”
And the good thing that came out of Guiao’s reprimand is how the 26-year-old big man from Cebu has been trying to work on improving his free throw shooting.
“Yun every practice namin nadi-develop ko na (free throw shooting),” he said. “Lagi kong iniisip na pinapagalitan ako kasi alam niya (Guiao) na may mali ako.”
The second-round (15th overall) pick of the Road Warriors in last year’s draft was looking forward to making his PBA debut for NLEX against NorthPort last March 11.
However, the growing cases of COVID-19 forced the PBA hierarchy to indefinitely postpone the season.
“Game n a sana namin 'yun, kaso na-cancel the next day kasi sa lockdown,” an amused McAloney said.
Welcome to the PBA, Will.