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    Yeng Guiao bares birthday wish - and it ain't an all-Filipino title

    Mar 19, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    YENG Guiao is hands-down one of the busiest humans you'll ever meet. He used to drive from Manila to Pampanga and back like crazy during his time as board member, vice-governor and later congressman, and shuffled from NLEX training to Gilas practices late last year in his capacity as national coach.

    He was so busy, in fact, he absolutely had no time to comb his hair, if he had any left.

    So it's understandable that boredom is an entirely new concept for the veteran coach, who, unbelievably so, has so much time in his hands these days and so little to do while diligently following quarantine rules with the entire family in their Cainta home.

    "Walang magawa," he chuckled.

    To give you an idea, here's how Guiao looked on his birthday.

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    Not that he's complaining. His days, and nights, are spent watching movies on Netflix, watching old clips on YouTube, catching up on his readings, playing with the many family dogs, a little jogging every now and then, and banter with wife Jenny and their three grown-up children.

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    The one time he ventured out of his home to buy some necessities for the family, one scene he witnessed broke his heart.

    "May nadaanan kaming nagkukumpulan ang mga tao, so sabi ko, 'Dito siguro may nagbebenta ng grocery,'" the former national coach narrated. "Noong malapit na ako, sanglaan [pawnshop] pala."

    "Can you imagine the difficulties they are facing? It's easy for us. Boredom? You can get by. But what about these people who survive on daily wage? We should keep those people in mind."

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      Charity begins at home. Guiao knows that and he has taken steps to take care of the people under his employ, including over a dozen in one business where he is a partner and another in Porac, Pampanga which he owns. He also has plans beyond that which he would rather not talk about publicly.

      "We assured them that we'll be paying their wages and other benefits," Guiao said. "Charity doesn't need to be in a grand scale. If you give something, big or small, who knows where that would lead, di ba?"

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      On the day he turned 61, his mind wasn't on an all-Filipino championship, which he has not won in 30 seasons as a PBA coach, or a win in the Fiba World Cup which he failed to get in five games with Gilas Pilipinas in Foshan, China last year.

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      "My wish is a quick resolution to this virus pandemic then an all-Filipino title. The World Cup is too far off. I'll think about that later," Guiao said. "Too many people are suffering right now. Let's take care of each other first."

      That doesn't mean he no longer covets a Philippine Cup trophy, though.

      "I want [an all-Filipino title] badly but that seems a little less important now in view of recent developments," said Guiao, who has won seven PBA championships in import-flavored conferences with Swift, Red Bull, and Rain or Shine.

      "When things return to normal, I'll probably regain the hunger for it."

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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