YENG Guiao admitted being caught by surprise by Bay Are Dragons’ decision to change imports at the last minute heading to its PBA quarterfinals showdown with Rain or Shine.
Guiao said the Elasto Painters were about to wrap up their practice on Thursday as they prepared to play a Bay Area team reinforced by Myles Powell when the memo from the Commissioner’s Office came.
It carried the bad news for the No. 8 seeds that Bay Area was reactivating big import Andrew Nicholson and relegating the 6-foot-2 Powell to the injury/reserved list after going down with a sprained ankle in practice.
Suddenly, Rain or Shine’s game plan was thrown in disarray.
“Patapos na yung practice namin nung sinabihan kami (on import changes),” said Guiao, noting teams are given a 24-hour notice on lineup changes before their game.
The Elasto Painters practice from 9 to 12, and received the notice before noon time.
“So nag usap-usap kami ng mga coaches ano ang gagawin namin. Na i-walk through namin ng ilang minutes, but we we’re really preparing for Myles Powell.”
The Elasto Painters found no answer for Nicholson’s dominant presence inside as he scored 32 points, including 23 in the first half alone, in the Dragons’ 126-96 rout of Rain or Shine on Friday at the Philsports Arena.
“Sabi namin (sa practice) i-double na lang natin (si Nicholson), kaya kanina dino-double na lang namin siya,” said Guiao.
Again the luxury of having a standby import was one of the advantages given to the guest team from Hong Kong, according to Guiao.
“Kasama pa rin yun sa sinasabi nating disadvantage (ng mga local teams),” the Rain or Shine coach pointed out.
Guiao earlier lamented the apparent uneven playing field that PBA teams had to endure from the concessions received by Bay Area as guest team this conference, among them the rule on changing of imports.
“Those things should be given more thought and at the same time, you should also protect the locals that we have,” said the champion coach. “Hindi lang naman kami, pati rin yung ibang teams makikinabang naman sa ganung arrangement.
“Natiyempo lang na kami yung katapat nila at ako lang yung nag open-up na ganito. I’m sure yung ibang teams may apprehension sila, pero maybe they’re not as vocal as I am. So nagiging boses lang ako ng ibang teams, ng ibang fans.”