“There’s nothing like going back to your regular grind”: NLEX celebrates Coach Yeng Guiao’s return

Coach Yeng Guiao can’t wait to get back to PBA action.

The veteran coach is back training with the NLEX Road Warriors after a thrilling stint with the national team—one that pushed him to lead the team for the 2018 Asian Games with very little time to prepare, yet also gave him the chance to work with NBA player Jordan Clarkson and unite players from different PBA teams to play for flag and country. As the Road Warriors gear up for their first game of the Governor’s Cup since Guiao’s return, he’s hoping that his recent experiences with Team Pilipinas gives them an edge.

“I’m excited because even though it’s been a tiring month, I just want to see the guys apply new knowledge and lessons we’ve learned from playing internationally. So we’re bringing in some adjustments, some new concepts and hopefully that can help us grow as a team and as individuals,” Guiao says. “That’s aside from the fact that you missed the team—the people, the coaching staff and the players themselves.”

“There’s nothing like going back to your original routine and regular grind,” Guiao adds.

Also returning to PBA action is Asi Taulava, who at 45 years old, showed off a new weapon for the national team: his three point shot, which Guiao first pushed him to develop for the Road Warriors.

All the players look ready for their return after a long break. You can see it in the faces of captain Larry Fonacier to Cebuano standout Mac Tallo, veterans JR Quiñahan and Cyrus Baguio to young guns Juami Tiongson and Kenneth Ighalo, and even injured import Olu Ashaolu. The Nigerian-Canadian athlete continues to do rehab with the Road Warriors even as last year’s import Aaron Fuller has returned to play for the Road Warriors.

While Guiao and Taulava attended to Team Pilipinas duties, the Road Warriors were able to nab a 3-2 record with Coach Jojo Lastimosa at the helm.

“I was really happy with the developments when I was gone. I had just asked the guys, the coaching staff in particular, for a 50% winning record, and they did better than that,” says Guiao, speaking of the team’s current standing. “I have to give them credit. There’s nothing I can ask for in terms of the job they did when I was away. Now the challenge is to continue the tone they have set while I was away, and hopefully get even better.”