PBA: Guiao warns of 'adjustment period' during closed-door games

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 03:37 PM

PBA: Guiao warns of 'adjustment period' during closed-door games 1
NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao talks to his team during practice. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao is no stranger to coaching closed-door games, having gotten that "surreal" experience during a World Cup qualifying match when he was calling the shots for Gilas Pilipinas.

Guiao was at the sidelines at the Araneta Coliseum when the Philippines pulled away for a 92-81 win over a visiting Qatar team in September 2018. The Big Dome, usually capable of housing over 20,000 fans, had only 220 people.

"It's kinda surreal. It felt really weird na naglalaro ka sa sarili mong bansa or in your home stadium, playing another country, and there's nobody there cheering you," Guiao said of the experience.

He is likely to relive that moment if and when the PBA finally resumes action. The league will almost certainly hold games behind closed doors to comply with the protocols of the government, as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis.

During an appearance on "The Chasedown" with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala last weekend, Guiao warned that playing without any fans is something that "takes some getting used to."

"Alam mo, nakapag-laro na rin ako ng walang tao sa venue, noong FIBA window na nilaro natin dito sa Araneta. Anything you say is amplified talaga," Guiao recalled.

"I think lessons are going to be learned and it's going to be an adjustment period," he added.

With no fans to make noise, everything that coaches and players say will be heard. Eala wryly noted that this puts Guiao at risk of more technical fouls, as referees can now hear him clearly whenever he complains.

"Palagay ko, malaki-laki ang ipa-fine sa akin ni Commissioner kapag ganyan," Guiao agreed, smiling.

"But at the same time, you have to practice self-control. Ayaw mo naman na ejected ka sa laro at 'di ka na makakatulong sa team mo," he added.

The lack of cheers and jeers also comes with a positive side: now, communication becomes easier. Guiao said that before, his players could barely hear his instructions because of the noise in the arena; but now, they won't have that excuse.

"Sa masyadong maingay, halos hindi kayo magkarinigan, minsan akala mo narinig ng player, hindi pala niya narinig. Wala na silang excuse ngayon na, 'Coach, hindi ko narinig 'yung sinabi mo eh.' So ngayon, sigurado maririnig nila," said Guiao.

The biggest advantage of not having a crowd will come when they play Barangay Ginebra, Guiao also said. The Gin Kings have, bar none, the biggest fanbase in the PBA, and they fuel their team with their nonstop cheers and chants during games.

Guiao, in jest, said that the league's 11 other teams will benefit as they do not have to go against the famous "barangay."

"Lahat kami magbe-benefit eh, kasi wala kaming laban sa fans talaga ng Ginebra, 'no," he said. "Ang hirap talaga na kasama ng Ginebra 'yung mga fans at saka 'yung crowd nila. Kung tatanungin mo, may magbe-benefit ba, 'yung 11 other teams are going to benefit in that aspect."

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