IT was a surreal feeling Yeng Guiao had to endure, going up for the first time against a player with whom he went to war so many times in the past.
In the end, the fiery coach could do nothing but just watch haplessly as import Wayne Chism torched NLEX for 27 points and lead Magnolia Pambansang Manok to a rousing 116-89 win to boost the team’s playoffs chances in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night.
Chism added eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals in his very first stint for a team not handled by Guiao.
“With Wayne it’s kind of weird looking at him playing for a different team,” said Guiao outside the Road Warriors’ dugout at the Mall of Asia Arena. “I think this is the first time he played for a different team other than mine.”
The 31-year-old Chism, won Best Import and reached the Commissioner’s Cup finals in 2015 while playing for Guiao at Rain or Shine.
He would also be recruited by the champion coach for the Road Warriors in this same mid-season tournament last year.
Guiao said NLEX could have held on to his rights, but doesn’t want the import to be denied of the opportunity to play for other teams especially after the Road Warriors were able to sign up Arnett Moultrie.
“It’s actually being selfish. We could actually hold on to him and keep his rights,” said Guiao. “Then we got Arnett and Blackwater was interested in him. So there was a dilemma. Do we hold on the rights of Wayne Chism or give him the opportunity to work and earn a living?
The rights on Chism were eventually released by NLEX to Blackwater as part of the Dave Marcelo-Rabeh Al-Hussaini trade.
But the Elite couldn’t hold on to Chism for a long time as the franchise was told by the league to choose who between him and Henry Walker will it used as replacement for Jarrid Famous. PBA rules allow teams to just hold the rights on a single import.
“So we just look at the interest of Wayne in making his living,” said Guiao
Truth to tell, according to Guiao, NLEX tried to bring in Chism anew after Moultrie encountered some issues in his stint at Bahrain.
“When we couldn’t get Arnett, the first person we looked for was Wayne, But he (Chism) was in the same tournament (in Bahrain) so he couldn’t also come at the time,” explained Guiao.
Besides he said, the Road Warriors didn’t really get past the elimination last year with Chism around.
“With Wayne last year, we’re also eliminated. So sabi namin balasa naman, baka naman si Arnett ang magbigay ng suwerte,” said Guiao.
Moultrie would give way to new import Oluseyi Ashaolu, who the Road Warriors decided to bring in early to harness him for the coming Governors Cup.
Still, the Road Warriors failed to finish their elimination round campaign in style by losing five games in a row and ending up with a 2-9 record for second to the last behind Blackwater (1-10).
“We’re disappointed. We wanted to finish this conference with a win,” said Guiao. “But again, we posed no excuses, we played badly this conference, and we will come back stronger in the next conference.”