Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao was just proud to see his young squad deliver and make it to the playoffs in just their first conference together.
Returning to his old stomping grounds at Rain or Shine with the conference barely starting and a young core to work with, the fiery mentor has set a modest goal of just trying to be competitive and at least advance to the playoffs – something his crew had achieved with a 110-100 victory over NLEX on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Guiao lauded the grit and poise that his team showed especially against a much-experienced Road Warriors side that he himself built during his time with NLEX.
“Whoever wants it badly will win the game. I guess the guys just showed that they wanted it more,” said Guiao.
“Malaking bagay sa amin to kasi after three conference, ngayon lang nakapasok ng quarterfinals. Mas mahirap pa ngayon kasi nadagdagan ng teams pero yung slot sa quarterfinals di naman nadagdagan,” he added.
Advancing to the quarterfinals was a meaningful one according to Guiao especially with the level of competition his young charges had to go through in the eliminations.
“Mas mahirap makapasok eh yung pinasok na team ang lakas pa. We find it really meaningful na nakapasok, nakarating kami rito bago lang kami magkasama. Yung NLEX, Meralco, TNT ang lalakas na team pero di sila nakapasok so we really look at it bilang isang blessing,” he added.
The reward for Rain or Shine after surviving NLEX in the knockout match for the eighth and final quarterfinals spot is a showdown against the fire-breathing and twice-to-beat Bay Area Dragons.
“Kahit anong gawin mong preparasyon dun wala kang magagawang preparasyon sa team na iyon. Advantage sila sa import, advantage sa height, ang lakas ng camaraderie, ng chemistry nila so wala akong masabing strategy dun di namin alam paano talunin yon,” explained Guiao.