‘THE Beast,’ obviously, holds no fear for Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
The multi-titled Guiao isn’t making any special plans ahead of the Painters’ first sighting of Calvin Abueva, insisting that it is JVee Casio and Cyrus Baguio and not the celebrated rookie who he is more worried about in their PBA Philippine Cup game on Wednesday night.
“Abueva is not the catalyst of Alaska at this point,” the Painters coach told Spin.ph. “He brings a lot to the team in terms of energy, his offense, and his defense as well, but I don’t think he is the main factor for the team in the overall scheme of things.”
Guiao said he is not in any way underestimating Abueva, the No. 2 pick overall in the last rookie draft whose arrival coincided with a resurgence that has seen the Uytengsu-owned franchise win five games in a row after opening the season with back-to-back losses.
The Painters coach is also quite familiar with the bull-strong rookie, who grew up in Balibago in Angeles City near Guiao’s hometown of Magalang in Pampanga.
“Matagal ko na s’yang naririnig sa mga liga sa Pampanga,” he said.
But if the Painters hope to stop the Aces on their tracks, Guiao said they have to find a way to stop Casio, Baguio, and then Abueva in that order.
“I think it’s the leadership of Casio and the experience of Baguio, plus the energy of Abueva of course, that’s sparking Alaska,” he said. “But if you’re looking to stop Alaska, you have to stop Casio and Baguio and then stop Abueva.”
Guiao said he hasn’t devised any special defensive game plan to contain Abueva, confident that he has enough defensive stoppers in his lineup to take on the job.
“He’s not physically dominating. He’s not quicker than everyone, he’s not taller than everyone,” said Guiao. “You just have to match the energy that he brings to the floor.”