Guiao to use Jones Cup stint to ‘toughen up’ local Painters
Coach Yeng Guiao said the presence of naturalized player Ange Kouame as Rain or Shine’s import for next month’s William Jones Cup in Taiwan will only be a one-off affair.
“There are no particular plans about that,” Guiao said, referring to a question posed by the Inquirer if the Elasto Painters are pondering to tap the former Ateneo standout beyond the international cagefest, particularly for the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) season-opening Commissioner’s Cup in mid-October.
One obvious thing to note, though, is that Kouame won’t make the cut for the only reinforced tournament of Season 48 since the PBA has set a maximum height limit of 6-foot-9.
Kouame stands two inches above the prescribed limit, according to information posted in previous Fiba (International Basketball Federation) competitions where the Ivorian-born cager played and Guiao was quick to thumb down the suggestion of trying to check if PBA measurements are different.
Regardless, Rain or Shine is glad that it was able to have Kouame join the squad for the Aug. 12 to 20 tournament, which is making its return after a four-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Elasto Painters are still searching for potential prospects to suit up for the first conference and Guiao sees no reason to speed up the process just because of the Jones Cup invitation.
“We don’t want to rush ourselves with regards to picking our import [for the Commissioner’s Cup], so we asked if Ange is available,” said Guiao. “I know that he’s part of the preparations of Gilas [for the Fiba World Cup], but we’re thankful that Gilas was able to lend him to us.”
Rain or Shine will be the first PBA team to compete in the annual tournament which has seen the Philippines win five times, including the last staging in 2019 with Mighty Sports.
Guiao expressed confidence that the tournament will be beneficial for his team composed mostly of young players such as Rey Nambatac, Gian Mamuyac, Anton Asistio and Shaun Ildefonso.
“It’s a unique experience as a team and we’re looking at it as a learning experience to prepare us for the regular PBA conferences,” Guiao said. “We have a young team, that’s why we have to take advantage of the opportunities like this to mold the team, to toughen them up for high-level competition.
“So when the invitation [to play in the Jones Cup] was mentioned to us, we immediately accepted it without second-guessing,” added Guiao, who is currently in Bali, Indonesia to spend several days with his family.