Guiao-NLEX breakup stuns many, including former team
The mutual decision of Yeng Guiao and the NLEX Road Warriors caught many by surprise—including the team that is reportedly welcoming him back.
Speculations of Guiao’s future quickly swirled hours before the Road Warriors confirmed in a statement released late afternoon that both parties “mutually agreed” to part ways.
Among the scenarios floated was a possible reunion with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, a team he brought to their glory days before jumping ship to the Road Warriors in 2016.
But an insider said that Rain or Shine has “no communication with Yeng” and that co-owners Raymond Yu and Terry Que had “no idea” of such possibility.
Yu, however, did not dismiss a potential reunion.
“Anything is possible,” he told the Inquirer late Friday. “We’d love to have him back.” Guiao steered the Elasto Painters to two Philippine Basketball Association championships—the 2012 Governors’ Cup and 2016 Commissioner’s Cup—handling the likes of former team standouts Paul Lee and Jeff Chan and current holdovers Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood.
Rain or Shine has missed the playoffs in the last two conferences under young mentor Chris Gavina, who is in charge of a roster that includes Rey Nambatac and rookie Gian Mamuyac.
NLEX, in its statement posted on the team’s official website, was gracious in having Guiao during the stint that lasted five seasons and one conference.
“We thank him for developing the team. In fact, we reached the semis twice and this showed how he professionalized the team. We wish Coach Yeng all the best in his future endeavors,” the team wrote.
Under Guiao, the Road Warriors were regarded as a team that was always in the middle of the pack, making seven playoff appearances including a pair of semifinal finishes in the 2018 Philippine Cup and 2022 Governors’ Cup.
But trades made by NLEX during Guiao’s run affected the team’s bid to make a serious run at a breakthrough title.
One significant deal was before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when center Poy Erram moved to sister team TNT in a three-team deal that also involved Blackwater.
NLEX also sent its right to pick fourth in the 2021 Draft to TNT—also via a three-team deal with Blackwater—which allowed the Tropang Giga to select premier scorer Mikey Williams.
—WITH A REPORT FROM DENISON REY A. DALUPANG
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