KIA may not exactly be a contender in the PBA Philippine Cup, but it always remains a dangerous team.
And that’s how coach Yeng Guiao sees the Picanto as his NLEX Road Warriors are the first ones to get a glimpse of what the team’s so-called ‘unconventional’ style of play is all about when both teams make their season debuts at the San Juan Arena on Dec. 20.
“The problem with KIA is that it has something prove after the controversy,” said Guiao, obviously referring to the Picanto’s bold decision to trade away the rights on top overall pick Christian Standhardinger to San Miguel in exchange for three role players and a future first round pick.
“I think a team that has something to prove is always dangerous. And that’s what we will be ready for and careful of because some people may think KIA is an easy assignment, but it’s not.”
The team philosophy of playing unconventional basketball was the logic KIA employed in its decision to trade away Standhardinger for the San Miguel trio of Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, and Rashawn McCarthy, a move that sparked a controversy and endless debate.
The Picanto played in just one sanctioned preseason game against San Miguel, beating the three-time defending champion, 78-75.
Still, that doesn’t give the Road Warriors enough idea of what KIA is all about this season.
“Hindi pa nga natin nakita yung sinasabi nilang unconventional e, so para bang we’re also going to be in the dark because that might be the weapon that they are talking about,” Guiao admitted.
“Everybody’s curious, lahat tayo curious kung ano talaga yung tinatago nilang unconventional na sistema,” he added. “So that’s going to be interesting, especially kami ang unang makakalaban nila, kaya wala kaming chance na ma-scout sila, pero yung ibang teams ma-scout na sila bago sila makalaban.”
What is certain though, according to Guiao, is the fact that KIA is a rejigged from last season in which the franchise ended its campaign by losing all of its 11 games in the Governors Cup.
“I think it’s still going to be a better team than last season. Certainly Jay-R Reyes and the other players that they got are going to be able to help them,” said the NLEX coach. “Ang tanong lang naman doon kung sino ang makakatulong, yung grupo ngayon or si Christian Standhardinger kung kinuha nga nila ito.”
The answer will come in handy once the two teams collide on Wednesday.