Ugaling Pinoy: Yeng Guiao relishes opportunity to coach Jordan Clarkson

Rey Joble

Posted at Aug 09 2022 05:04 PM

Throughout his coaching career, Yeng Guiao had the luxury of coaching crack NBA players who became imports for teams he coached before -- from Lewis Lloyd of the Houston Rockets, Tony Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics, to Antonio Lang, who played for five NBA teams, and Scott Burrell from NBA champion team Chicago Bulls.

All of them were coached by Guiao with Lang and Harris giving him a championship apiece while coaching Red Bull and Swift, respectively. 

But Guiao was also privileged to become the first Filipino mentor to coach NBA star Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz when the Fil-Am player played for the national team in the 2018 Asian Games.

Guiao was assigned to coach a hastily-prepared team to the Asian Games in the 2018 Asiad. 

The Philippines didn't intend to put up a squad following the suspension of more than half of the Gilas players following their involvement in a melee against the Australian squad in one of the windows of the World Cup Asian qualifier, but the clamor of putting together a team just to salvage the country's pride of being a basketball-crazy country was so strong.

Rain or Shine was more than willing to bankroll that team and designated Guiao to coach the squad and assigned him to put together a team at the last minute.

Then, there was the last-minute entry of Clarkson, whose availability was made possible by business tycoon and sports patron Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Guiao relished the opportunity of coaching the NBA star, although he had reservations on the coachability of Clarkson.

"I didn't see any problem coaching Clarkson. Akala ko nga nung una mahihirapan ako baka kasi hindi siya open for suggestions and doesn't want to be coached by a non-NBA coach," Guiao told ABS-CBN News. 

"But he's very coachable. Ang tawag ko nga sa kanya, ugaling Pinoy."

Clarkson was classified as a local player in the Asian Games and the Philippine quintet had to choose between Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle on who'll play the role as naturalized player.

In the Asian Games, only one naturalized player is allowed to be put on the active roster during game days.

Clarkson will be back playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the coming window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers from August 25 to August 29, but this time as a naturalized player as ruled by the International Basketball Federation. 

The Philippines takes on Lebanon on August 26 in Beirut then plays hosts against Saudi Arabia on August 29.

Guiao believes Clarkson will definitely give Gilas Pilipinas a big boost once he rejoins the program.

"I think anybody who'll coach Jordan won't have a problem coaching him because he's very coachable," added Guiao.

Clarkson will also play for Gilas Pilipinas in next year's World Cup and will join the team six weeks before the tournament starts, according to SBP spokesperson Sonny Barrios. 

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