RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao admitted agonizing over his decision to trade reliable backup defensive player Ronnie Matias to Air21 in exchange for the Express’ 2015 second-round pick.
Guiao said if he would only have his way, he wouldn’t want to part with the tough-playing Matias, whose basketball smarts, hard work and ability to guard taller players are intangibles that he brought to the team during his three-year stint at Rain or Shine.
“Ronnie is a well-balanced player who, I should say, is our utility guy because I can use him at the two, three or four positions,” Guiao told Spin.ph on Thursday.
They Said It!
“Normal (ang trade), sabi ko sa kanya. Bahagi yan ng professional basketball life. “What’s nice about it is it’s not the end of him. Kasi wala naman akong problema sa kanya. He’s got a very good attitude and he works hard during practice." - Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao on recently traded player Ronnie Matias
The fiery E-Painters mentor said Matias became expendable when Jeric Teng was surprisingly still available when it was Rain or Shine's turn to pick again early in the second round of last month’s rookie draft.
“May mga circumstances lang talaga na di ma-predict, kamukha nung sa draft. Eh pumasok si Jeric Teng sa second round. Eh sayang naman kung hindi natin kukunin si Jeric,” said Guiao.
And though saddened he had to part ways with the 30-year-old former University of Manila cager, Guiao believes Matias’ move to the Express could do good for his PBA career because of what he can bring to the team.
“Normal 'yan (trade), sabi ko sa kanya. Bahagi yan ng professional basketball life,” said Guiao, a first-term representative to the First district of Pampanga. “What’s nice about it is it’s not the end of him. Kasi wala naman akong problema sa kanya. He’s got a very good attitude and he works hard during practice.”
Matias, who only played one game this season, averaged 4.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 14.8 minutes of play for the E-Painters last season, helping the Asian Coating franchise to a runner-up finish in the 2012-2013 Philippine Cup.