EVEN before posting a triple-double, Batang Gilas stalwart McLaude Guadana already caught the eye of Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes.
Reyes was so impressed with the Lyceum Cavite product's work rate, energy and nose for the ball that he compared the combo guard to a player that he has worked, and won titles, with in the past.
"Si No. 6 (Guadana) reminds me of Ryan Reyes. He's always there where the ball is," said Reyes midway through Batang Gilas' match against Indonesia, which they won 96-73.
Guadana later validated Reyes' claim as he finished with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to tow the national youth team to its second win in as many games.
Guadana, 16, said he hopes his performance with Batang Gilas would rub off on his school, which for years has been the whipping boy of the NCAA juniors tournament.
His emergence is a testament to how far the program has come for Lyceum, Guadana said.
"Nagpapasalamat po ako na 'yun nga po, nakuha po ako dito sa Under-16 na team kasi sa dinadami-dami na mas matataas na team (ako ang nakuha)," said Guadana.
"Siyempre yung Lyceum nagsisimula pa lang, alam naman po namin na tataas din kami at matataas yung team namin into championship. Pero siyempre hard work parin," he added.
But as great as his game was, Guadana was quick to put it behind him.
He now sets his focus on getting better for Wednesday's match against Thailand, especially after a poor second half showing against Singapore.
"Yung mga teams na kalaban namin, puro speed kasi, mas mabibilis po sila kasi mas malalaki kami, siguro wake-up call na sa amin na next games namin, hindi na kami mag-rerelax."