YENG Guiao had a grand time in his return as a PBA television panelist as he called the shots during Game Three of the Governors Cup finals between Meralco and Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday night for TV5.
The new NLEX coach admitted missing doing the TV chore which had been a part of his routine once during his stint with former league coveror Vintage Enterprises.
But what delighted him most was analyzing and breaking down the game without feeling the pressure coaches usually go through during the heat of the battle.
“I wouldn’t call it a therapy (from coaching), but it’s something different,” he said after the Bolts eked out a 107-103 win over the Kings to take a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven duel.
“It’s actually a change of pace watching the game without any pressure. May certain enjoyment na alam mong hindi ikaw yung nakataya.”
Helping Guiao feel at ease in his comeback in the broadcast panel was veteran play-by-play announcer Sev Sarmenta and retired cager Eric Reyes, who was a former player of the outspoken mentor during his days as coach of Swift.
Reyes, 48, who won two titles with Guiao in 1992 and 1993, said he enjoyed doing the commentary with his former mentor, with whom he shared a lot of memories during the break in coverage.
“Parang yung memories of my playing days, yung glory days ko (while playing), lahat yun nag-flashback sa akin,” he said. “Masarap kakuwentuhan si Coach Yeng.”
The rapport between coach and player was still there, according to the former Ateneo Blue Eagle, who was selected by Guiao himself during the 1992 Rookie Draft to play for the RFM franchise.
“Yung style ni Coach Yeng na na-appreciate ko sa lahat is the way he shuffles his players,” said Reyes. “Nade-develop niya lahat ng players’ confidence because of the way he uses them.”
The former PBA player turned TV panelist said Guiao has been that way even during his time with Swift. And Reyes admitted he’s among the players before of the Mighty Meaties who benefited under Yeng’s system.
“Although I was picked in the first round by coach Yeng, I was coming off the bench because we had a star-studded team,” Reyes recalled. “Ang maganda doon, parati pa rin niyang binibigyan ng opportunity yung mga players na sabi nga niya ‘barya-barya’ lang, pero nagde-deliver sila in the game.”
Guiao let out a wide smile when told about Reyes reminiscing their good old days with Swift.
“Puro tawanan para hindi naman puro seryoso ang usapan,” he said. “It’s always a happy occasion to be able to tell stories of old especially kung alam mo namang mas marami yung happy memories kaysa sa sad memories.”
He was happy being part of the panel that worked the TV coverage of a well-played game between the Bolts and Kings that wasn’t’ decided until the final eight seconds when import Allen Durham nailed two pressure-packed free throws.
The competitor in him, Guiao, who has moved from Rain or Shine to NLEX, disclosed how he wishes it was him who’s calling the shots in the title series now – never mind the pressure of coaching.
“I would really want to be in the finals,” he said.
Hopefully, he gets the chance to do so by the first conference of the new league season.
“Yun ang gagawin natin,” said Guiao.