YENG Guiao has a simple answer when asked on what’s the secret to the success of Rain or Shine team that has no superstar in its lineup.
The outspoken coach bared the franchise lives by the team-first philosophy.
“It’s more than just a system. But we've put and live by our philosophy that has been ingrained in the minds of the players,” said Guiao, who steered the blue-collar Elasto Painters to a second straight PBA Finals stint by making the Philippine Cup title series opposite the Talk `N Text Tropang Texters.
“I don't play favorites and I treat all my players equally. I can yell at them or curse them, and they won't take it personally," added the coach, who’s also the vice-governor of Pampanga.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Paul Lee, hotshot Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, and rookie Chris Tiu are some of the most recognizable names in the team, yet Guiao swears he doesn't see or treat them as superstars in the mold of a James Yap or Mark Caguioa.
“There are no superstars in the team. They are supposed to have physical and mental toughness. There are no egos, and to me, our preparation is the key to our success. So all my players carry the philosophy with them,” he added.
This very same philosophy carried the Elasto Painters to their first-ever PBA championship in the Governors Cup, when they beat heavy favorite San Mig Coffee Mixers in the deciding Game Seven.
Guiao's uncanny coaching style includes digging deep into his roster, often playing 12 players in a game. He explained that his idea was to maximize the available talent they have in the team.
“Alam naman natin sa series na ito dehado kami. But we're just proud of what we have achieved. We were not the favorites when we played our series against Ginebra. And we were not the favorites in our series against San Mig. We want to be the underdogs,” Guiao explained.
"Mas marami silang (Tropang Texters) experience at sila rin, marami ang talent. Mga players ko, Barya-barya boys lang ang tawag ko dito. Hindi naman mga highest paid players ang mga ito e."
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor also stressed winning the Governors Cup title has boosted the Elasto Painters' confidence, enabling them to make a return trip to the Finals.
"Prior to last conference, nobody in this team has championship experience. Now, everybody has championship experience except Chris (Tiu). But I said one championship is enough for us to go for another one," said Guiao.
"The experience that we gained or the wisdom that we gained, that's enough for us to match the five or six titles that Talk 'N Text has won. Okay na sa amin yun, sapat na sa amin iyun," he added.
Whether Guiao will be proven right again remains to be seen.