E-Painters’ feat ‘unique’
“THIS is something unique.”
That was Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine on Wednesday night, and he wasn’t talking about the Elasto Painters’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup title romp but the makeup of the squad that got the job done.
Guiao and his Painters finally finished off Alaska with a 109-92 victory for a 4-2 series win at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, giving the squad just its second PBA title and first since the 2012 Governors’ Cup.
It was the seventh championship in Guiao’s coaching career as he continues to look for one without an import. But on this particular tournament, it kind of looked like he already has.
“The satisfying thing about this is that we won a championship with the lowest-scoring import (ever) in the league. This is something unique,” Guiao said.
“He is not the stereotype import that scores 30 (a game). But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. He is 10-3 (with us) and that is a great record anywhere. How can you argue with that.”
Pierre Henderson-Niles became the lowest-scoring import to ever win a championship in the league, and it is something alien to Guiao.
Guiao brought in some of the most prolific imports the league has seen, from Tony Harris to Ronnie Thompkins, former Duke star Antonio Lang and Jamelle Cornley in 2012.
Harris owns the single-scoring record in the league with 105 points. Thompkins and the others were simply great all-around players.
He stood out providing the team with what it needed in the quarterfinals and in the Final Four against Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer—powerhouses that depended largely on their tall local cornerstones to win.
Tommy Manotoc, the coach of Crispa’s Grand Slam team of 1983 which was led by Billy Ray Bates—arguably the finest import of all-time—had told the Inquirer in an interview several weeks back that Rain or Shine was thriving because of the depth of its local bench.
Paul Lee was the hero in three of the four wins, and several others stepped up big time in support as Henderson-Niles, left without a local big man to check in the Finals, was simply lost in the rotation and averaged just under 10 points.
“I have now experienced the best of both worlds in Tony (Harris, the scorer) and P (Henderson-Niles, the non-scorer),” Guiao said with a smile.
Reporters were in a quandary when the league’s Press Corps needed to cast its vote for the Best Import.
But it was also clear as day that the Painters wouldn’t have gotten this far without their locals, and the victory simply highlighted how the core of this team has delivered under Guiao.
Asked if the team would bring the 6-foot-8 Henderson-Niles back for its title defense next season, Guiao said with a smile: “That’s still a year away from now.”
Usually, coaches don’t think twice about breaking a winning formula.