MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao has not hesitated to give playing time to three young guns on his roster, and the rookies have been paying him back with solid performances so far in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Just last weekend, rookies Raymond Almazan, Alex Nuyles and Jeric Teng all scored 13 points to help the Elasto Painters beat Air21, 104-94, and clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
Almazan, the third overall pick in the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft, played 19 minutes and made a good account of himself against veteran center Asi Taulava.
“Noong first half, medyo sluggish ako. Kaya ang sabi ko, pag ginamit ako ng third, puputok talaga ako. Nasa isip ko lang, tatakbuhan ko sila ng tatakbuhan,” Almazan told PBA.ph. [http://pba.inquirer.net/39853/ros-young-guns-take-centerstage]
Teng played a team-high 24 minutes, and later admitted that he was surprised but also grateful for the chance.
“Nagulat nga ako, pero sinasabihan ako ng teammates ko na they will look for me at tutulungan nila akong mahanap ‘yung confidence ko,” said Teng.
“Kahit papaano, I got it and I’m thankful for my teammates and coaches,” he said.
Nuyles already made a name for himself as an impact player for the Elasto Painters, and against Air21, he again showed that he was worthy of the first-round pick that Rain or Shine used on him.
The high-flying former Adamson Falcon was happiest to have clinched the twice-to-beat advantage, which they hope to put to good use when they take on GlobalPort tonight at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Di kami pwedeng maging complacent sa standing namin kahit twice-to-beat kami. Dapat una pa lang, manalo na kami,” he said. “Wala namang mahinang team sa PBA eh… We have to play harder sa playoffs.”
Teng gave credit to Guiao and their veteran teammates for showing the rookies the ropes, especially during practice.
“Every practice, sinasabi ni coach na we have to keep on attacking and make our free throws,” said the former UST star. “When we attack the basket, we create opportunities for the shooters. Doon kami nagbe-base talaga.”
“Halos lahat sila dito, beterano na eh. We learn every day when to shoot, when to pass, the techniques on defense, and how to stop certain players. We have to be positive talaga,” said Teng.