NLEX 99 – Alaska 97
In his much-awaited debut with his new team, Coach Yeng Guiao continued to show his brilliance as he led the NLEX Road Warriors past the Alaska Aces in an overtime thriller.
Like most of hte other teams, NLEX also had a busy offseason. They worked to improve personnel. But while they acquired quality players in Carlo Lastimosa and Bradwyn Guinto, there’s no question that the biggest acquisition they made was at the head coaching position.
Coach Yeng has won seven PBA championships as the lead mentor. He’s a two-time coach of the year. He has more than proven his ability to mastermind a team and to ignite the potential of players. Ask anyone in the league about him and they’ll most likely rave about his unique style of coaching.
Moving from Rain or Shine to NLEX, Coach Yeng was welcomed by a different mix of hoopers. Back with ROS, the team was mainly composed of veterans, sprinkled with young guns. Here with NLEX, it’s the opposite. It’s a really young team. He has a few veterans there, too. But mostly, they’re a fresh bunch.
But gauging from the team’s first game under Coach Yeng, it seems like Guiao’s zen approach has not changed. He continued to put his trust in the team’s capacity. Last night against Alaska, Coach Yeng used 14 out of the 15 guys in uniform. The playing time was also evenly distributed as nine guys logged at least 18 minutes.
That’s the style that has been associated with Guiao. He’s a master when it comes to this.
Coach Yeng is the type of coach who sees something in a player that nobody else does. And even if he hasn’t spent much time with the Road Warriors, it feels like he’s unlocked the games of some already. One game may not be enough basis, but look at what Bradwyn Guinto was able to put together. The guy had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Understandably, with a new coach, some roles in the team will change. Go-to guys may need to give way. Some heavily-used players may need to give up minutes. But with Coach Yeng at the helm, it shouldn’t be too hard to trust the changes that he brings.
It’s very exciting to see what kind of team Guiao turns NLEX into. Because it seems like a team that would prosper using his system. They have versatile players that can work on both ends of the floor. And everyone on that team will do anything to get wins night after night.
As the Road Warriors opened up the new season, they welcomed a new era with Coach Yeng. And they did so successfully by escaping with a W against Alaska. It’s a great way to start. But that barely proves anything.
Watch out for NLEX, though. With Coach Yeng there, they could be very deadly.