Guiao to NLEX rookie Oftana: Take it slowly

Published July 18, 2021, 7:50 PM

by Carlo Anolin

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao had to ease the eagerness of rookie Calvin Oftana after their first loss in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup against Rain or Shine at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City last Friday.

NLEX rookie Calvin Oftana (left) chases Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson for the defense during their game in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City on Sunday, July 18. (PBA)

After the talk with Oftana that night, Guiao saw how much patience the former San Beda stalwart had shown in their win against 2020 All-Filipino Conference champion Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday, July 18.

“Kinausap ko siya kahapon. Medyo siya rin naman aminado rin siya na medyo gigil siya noong first game niya,” said Yeng Guiao in a post-match press conference after the Road Warrior routed the Kings, 94-75. “Sabi ko, I have no doubt that he will make good in this league. Walang kaduda-duda ‘yon. Pero hindi mangyayari ‘yon sa isa o dalawang laro. Kailangan unti-untiin niya.”

Now in their second game against Ginebra, the 6-foot-5 forward contributed two points and three rebounds in eight minutes and 40 seconds of play.

Earlier, Oftana had one point, four rebounds, and two assists in 14 minutes and 37 seconds of playing time as the Road Warriors fell short against the Elasto Painters, 83-82.

With these mini numbers early in the season, Oftana had to translate the huge expectations for him being the third overall pick in the 2020 draft class.

Prior to turning professional, the NLEX forward played for the San Beda Red Lions where he was hailed as the Most Valuable Player during the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament.

San Beda, however, took a 2-1 beating from Letran in the Finals.

But Guiao assured that his prized rookie will eventually learn how to take it one game at a time in the professional scene.

“He’s a little bit more patient. He does not have not to prove anything right away. You have to earn it so palagay ko makukuha niya rin yon,” the two-time Coach of the Year winner added.