PBA: NLEX coach Guiao sees silver lining in stoppage of play

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2022 03:43 PM

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. PBA Media Bureau.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is in full support of the PBA's decision to suspend the Governors' Cup amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, even as he admits that it has halted the momentum of the league and their team.

The PBA has yet to hold a game in 2022, opting instead to suspend games indefinitely after COVID-19 cases rose in number at the start of the year. The stoppage comes after the league had already begun to welcome fans back in venues.

"Sobrang lakas makahawa noong omicron variant. I don't think there's any team that has been able to keep themselves totally safe. So, I think it was a good thing for the PBA to suspend it for the meantime, so that we can reassess our positions and take extra measures to be careful," Guiao said on "The Chasedown."

"So, tama lang 'yun. I know it's inconvenient. I know the momentum has been disrupted. Pero I think it's worth the trouble," he added.

At the time of the stoppage, Guiao's Road Warriors had compiled a 4-1 win-loss record, putting them near the top of the league standings and in good position to challenge for a top four spot. 

"Matagal na kaming hindi nakaka-start ng maganda, so ako nanghihinayang talaga ako," Guiao admitted.

"Sayang din, nanghihinayang ako. Andoon na 'yung audience natin eh. Ang sarap maglaro with the audience na andoon. Kaya lang, baka pag-resume natin, baka mawawala ulit 'yung mga audience natin," he also said.

Though disappointed, Guiao sees a silver lining in the PBA's decision to halt games for now, at least as far as his team is concerned.

The Road Warriors were not at peak form during their first five games, with players like Kris Porter and Raul Soyud unavailable due to injuries.

"I think 'yun nga, the momentum is lost, especially if you are having a good start. But also, meron kaming mga players na merong mga injuries eh. JR, sina Mike Miranda, sila Raul Soyud, sila Kris Porter," said Guiao.

"So, I think the break has given them enough time to recuperate and recover, so they'll be fresh and they'll be ready for the resumption, pagka natuloy na," he added. "So I think 'yun ang silver lining dito sa mga nangyari, 'no, na re-set or na-suspend 'yung resumption natin."

The Road Warriors took a break from their small-group training sessions this week, according to Guiao. However, they intend to return to action this coming week, with the coach hoping that all of his players and staff return negative results after their RT-PCR swab tests on Monday.

Also this week, the PBA Board of Governors will meet to decide on the next steps that the league will take with regard to the conference. Guiao is optimistic the team governors and Commissioner Willie Marcial will decide in favor of resuming the Governors' Cup.

"I think the league can push through with the permission of the IATF and the GAB (Games and Amusements Board)," he said. "We've been through harder times, actually. Mas malupit, mas mahirap pa noong araw, nakalusot tayo. Eh ngayon pa. We have invested time and effort and resources in our start for this conference."

"So magmi-meeting nga 'yung PBA Board; I think they will consider that investment, and I'm confident magtutuloy tayo. For the sake of the fans, the supporters, and the players, and the coaching staff themselves," he added.