March 22, 2023

Basketball is life: Yeng Guiao still loves the game too much to walk away

Basketball is life: Yeng Guiao still loves the game too much to walk away
PhilStar

A PBA without Yeng Guiao will happen eventually—but not anytime soon.

The 63-year-old drillmaster of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters made that clear on Saturday in the podcast “Power and Play” by former PBA commissioner Noli Eala. In that same show, the decorated tactician also recommend ways to improve the PBA and then outlined to Eala exactly when retirement might be the only choice.

"Siguro when I wake up in the morning and I feel like I don’t want to go to practice,” Guiao told Eala.

But, apparently, that is not the case just yet—far, far from it.

“E ngayon, gabi palang gusto ko na magpunta sa practice,” Guiao added in between chuckles.

Another reason Guiao continues to helm Rain or Shine? That never-ending pursuit of hoops knowledge.

“Sa tagal ko rito sa liga, parang ang dami ko pang hindi alam. And I want to keep adding to that knowledge,” Guiao admitted. “Ang daming bago sa basketball na pagnakikita mo, you’re always excited to go to practice and, ‘Subukan ko nga ‘to baka effective ‘to ah, baka pwede ‘to sa team namin. Parang hindi ko ‘to nakita before.’”

Guiao, in that sense, has always been one of those coaches seemingly ahead of the curve almost every time. Case in point: He was already giving his big men the green light to shoot the trey ball even before three-point shooting big men became one of the hallmarks of modern basketball. So, yes, basketball is life for Guiao. But learning is life, too, in the case of the former Pampanga governor.

That love for hoops and the quest to learn more about it is keeping the seven-time champion coach in the proverbial grind. And it looks like he will be doing it for many more years—that is, until the passion dies out.

“Pagka siguro wala ka ng ganun [love for the game], or hindi ka na motivated na mag-improve that’s the time to retire,” Guiao pointed out. 

That time will come. It is just not now.