Just two years ago, Caloy Garcia and Yeng Guiao went their separate ways, with the former staying with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters while the latter went to the NLEX Road Warriors.
But by some twist of fate, the two found themselves working together again. And it was for a greater cause.
But the start of this new journey for Garcia was as rocky as it gets.
“Well, basically, at first medyo magulo yung umpisa – we didn’t know if we were in or out,” the youthful mentor recalled.
“But when we got in sa Asian Games, actually masaya e. “
Three weeks before the 2018 Asian Games, the Philippines – which was supposed to be coached by Guiao and reinforced by Rain or Shine – pulled out of the Men’s Basketball competition.
But after much clamor from Filipino fans, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas decided to put up a team once more. And the cherry on the top for everyone was the addition of Jordan Clarkson.
Garcia, who was named as the team’s lead assistant coach, made sure not to waste this opportunity that might come once in a lifetime.
“Going back to being under coach Yeng, his system, especially most of the players dun sa unang batch namin were together also, so parang naging homecoming namin yun,” beamed Garcia, who has been coaching since 2004.
“We also played with Jordan Clarkson, which is bihira mangyari sa career ko na to coach somebody who is in the NBA and is at the peak of his career.”
After they came back from Jakarta, a new task was laid down in front of them. They needed to prep another batch of Gilas players, this time for the fourth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
This entailed a huge sacrifice for Garcia, as he would have missed another two weeks of practice with the Elasto Painters. The “once in a lifetime” opportunity happened again.
That is why he sought advice from his mentor, Guiao.
“Sabi nga ni coach Yeng, we’re doing this because we love it, we’re doing it because we want to make it to the next round,” disclosed Garcia, as the Philippines finished in fifth place in the Asiad and went 1-1 during the last window.
“That’s what happened, we sacrificed, and at least it came out positive.”
This rollercoaster ride for Garcia is not yet over, however. After experiencing the lowest of lows and the highest of highs in just a span of two months, it looks like his job as Gilas assistant coach will continue on until 2019. And Garcia is incredibly grateful for this blessing, even if entails plenty of responsibilities.
“I’m hoping na sana magtuloy-tuloy pa ito.”
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