SERVING as an assistant to Yeng Guiao for more than half a decade has its benefits.
And Caloy Garcia seeks to make full use of that as he faces his predecessor for the first time on Friday night when Rain or Shine and NLEX collide in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena.
The new Elasto Painters coach, who was Guiao’s top deputy for six years before the latter transferred to the Road Warriors, continues to run the same fast-paced system that has produced two championships and a string of semifinal appearances for the team during Guiao's time.
“Both teams practically have the same offense, the same philosophy,” Garcia said after practice on the eve of the 7 p.m. matchup. “It might feel weird because both teams will practically run the same plays, the same schemes.”
When scouting the Road Warriors' games, Garcia bared he can see a few tweaks Guiao has made, but it's the same overall.
"It will all boil down to execution,” he said as his team aims to improve its 3-2 win-loss record for a piece of second spot.
And that’s where the E-Painters have an advantage over the Road Warriors, who are in the early stage of adapting to Guiao’s style of play, evidenced by its 1-4 slate.
“Ang lamang lang namin siguro is that we’ve been doing that for the last six years,” Garcia said. “I told the players that we need to execute better especially kung wala kaming bago sa loob. Unless andun sina James (Yap), J-Wash (Jay Washington) at Mike (Tolomia) ‘yung nasa loob."
"Pero sa mga old players, matagal na namin tinatakbo ‘yung sistema,” he added.
Garcia also reminded his wards to keep their emotions in check as they set their focus on recovering from a tough 99-91 loss to Paul Lee and Star last Sunday.
“Whoever we’ll be playing tomorrow, it means more of winning than the emotional part of it,” Garcia said. “We know how crucial every game is right now especially with most of the teams currently bunched up in the middle. That’s one of our motivations, aside from finishing the year with a win.”