NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is looking at the positives as his team is condemned to a last-place finish in the PBA Philippine Cup standings after suffering a 106-96 loss to Mahindra on Friday night.
The Road Warriors absorbed their eighth setback in 10 games, unfortunately assuring them of a last-place finish regardless of the result of their last game of the eliminations against Ginebra on Sunday.
That will leave Guiao in unfamiliar territory as it will be the first time in 16 years that a team he’s coaching is finishing at the cellar - or since Red Bull ended up at the bottom of the 2000 Commissioner’s Cup in Guiao's return to the league after a four-year hiatus.
“Nakakapanibago (yung feeling), pero you have to be prepared to accept that,” the champion coach said. “This is a very competitive league.”
“The good side is siguro that gives you an opportunity to re-organize the team,” he was quick to add. “You have an early draft for next year and hawak pa naman namin yung draft (pick) namin, so looking into the future, there’s a bright side – if you want to look at it as the light at the end of the tunnel, but while you’re going through the tunnel, it’s dark.”
Guiao reiterated that it’s only been three months since he took over, but also expected more from his players who he has given opportunities to perform.
“Nobody is safe ngayon,” Guiao said, reiterating his plan for change. “We all know this is a process, but we cannot wait too long. I have practically given them all a chance eh. Itong mga ‘to, siguro about half of them were not getting the kind of playing time they’re getting right now, so sinasabi ko sa kanila: ‘Gusto niyo ng playing time, binigay sa inyo, so with the playing times comes the responsibility to prove yourselves.”
Sean Anthony, Guiao's most consitent player thus far, was sideliend for the game against Mahindra due to an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury.
“If you cannot prove yourselves, then we just have to make some decisions,” he added. “In all the teams that I’ve coached, the batting average was really good – if you give a player confidence, playing time, and then you train him, and then you put him in a situation where he can put to use yung mga training niya, there’s a good chance they will prove themselves."
"But that’s not yet happening for this team," Guiao continued. "Maybe we have to wait a little bit longer, or baka kailangan balasahin.”