Guiao: Soyud’s game ‘valuable’ for Gilas
MANILA, Philippines — The inclusion of Raul Soyud in the national team’s training pool for the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in February raised a few eyebrows.
But the NLEX big man’s head coach Yeng Guiao is definitely not among the surprised.
After all, it was Guiao who unleashed Soyud’s potential to become one of the better big men in the PBA.
“I’m not surprised that Raul was called up to join the Gilas pool, but I was really surprised with the accelerated improvement he had,” said the former Philippine team mentor, as per PBA.ph.
“His improvement was quick and that is a tribute to his sheer determination and hard work to get to where he is right now.”
Soyud was the 31st overall pick–seventh in the third round–of the 2014 PBA Draft and struggled heavily during his first few years in the league.
The 6-foot-6 bruiser had limited opportunities until last season when Guiao gave him a bigger role.
A rotation player for much of 2019, Soyud burst into prominence in the 2020 Philippine Cup, putting up 10.0 points, on a ridiculous 73.8 percent shooting that topped the league, and 6.8 rebounds.
Soyud’s rise garnered him a nomination for the Most Improved Player award, which was won by his draft batchmate Prince Caperal of Barangay Ginebra.
Though Soyud’s chances of making the final 12-man lineup is not a sure thing, Guiao believes the dependable veteran has the characteristics of a Gilas big man.
“His rugged, physical play against opponents bigger than him will be valuable for Gilas, and he can hit the outside shot,” said Guiao. “He can make those shots when you leave him open.”
Soyud’s improved play earned him a fresh two-year contract to stay with NLEX.
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