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Rain or Shine’s consistency a testament to Guiao’s craft

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For all the technical fouls, expletives, on-court antics, hard-hitting quotes, and more, Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao will still go down as one of the best coaches in the PBA.

It may not be too quick or easy to appreciate him but for those who have followed the fiery mentor for period of time knows how he has always transformed a team with his style of coaching — an unorthodox, not-afraid-to-take-risks, and think-out-of-the-box approach which has already given Guiao a handful of PBA championships.

People can say whatever they want about Guiao, who sometimes goes just a bit beyond the line during team huddles or gets bizarre with his on-court lineups from time to time although this signature uniqueness is what’s keeping him and his team a cut above the rest.

Rain or Shine entered the 2015-16 season with its prized backcourt gunner Paul Lee, who put up 15 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.8 APG last year, while also leading the Elasto Painters in win shares with 3.6.

So supposedly, it’s okay for Rain or Shine to struggle a little bit but the Elasto Painters did the opposite thing, beating contenders one by one en route to winning 4 out of their first 5 games.

Rain or Shine holds the second best net rating at +8.4, behind San Miguel’s +8.7. They are the no. 2 defensive team, the no. 4 three-point shooting team, and is the top team in assists per game with 23.5.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Rain or Shine's consistency a testament to Guiao's craft    Continuity plays a big factor in Guiao’s system especially since taking over the Rain or Shine franchise. The team has added key pieces via the draft to strengthen the team: Paul Lee in 2011, Chris Tiu in 2012, Raymond Almazan in 2013, and Jericho Cruz in 2014.

Still, Guiao won’t be a great coach only because of his technical know-how but also of his constant habit to take risks and be different — like trading away guys or passing on draft picks which make fans and basketball followers in general go nuts.

In the 2015 rookie draft, Guiao didn’t bother picking a big, and instead shocked everyone when they selected Maverick Ahanmisi at 3rd overall, saying Jewel Ponferrada’s addition will already suffice.

Every the courageous coach that he is, Guiao proved to have made another high-risk, high-reward move.

Ponferrada is now giving Guiao more toughness inside with his size and ability to cover the paint. Almazan of course, has already become a very decent rim protector.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Rain or Shine's consistency a testament to Guiao's craft    And without Lee, this continuity — along with a positionless system — was felt during the Elasto Painters’ 4-1 start. Cruz is on pace for a breakout sophomore season, averaging 13.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 3.0 APG, in 22.6 minutes, shooting 61 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point area. Tiu is running the point has been a terrific reader so far, while the younger backcourt players are getting more burn and are developing more maturity on the court.

Against Blackwater last Sunday, the unit of Cruz, Nimes, Ahanmisi, Beau Belga, and Ponferrada was what gave the Elasto Painters the separation in the second quarter, turning a 16-all deadlock into a 30-20 lead en route to a comfortable 103-81 rout.

Cruz had 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting, a career-high. Ponferrada had 15 points and was plus-23, while Ahanmisi had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Nimes, though playing only 12 minutes, was a plus-10.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Rain or Shine's consistency a testament to Guiao's craft    Gabe Norwood, the longest-tenured Elasto Painter, spoke highly of the continuity and unselfish system that has turned the Rain or Shine family into a contender over the past five years.

“I think that has been the mantra of our team. Whether it is Paul or any injuries in the past, others step up. Mav (Ahanmisi) is playing well with a lot of confidence, Don (Trollano) is getting noticed, and Josan is in his first game where he really got a lot of minutes and he played well,” Norwood said.

“There’s been minimal moves for the last four or five years. We have a good team going and these are guys who buy into the system very easy.”

Rain or Shine is on a roll, and Guiao is showing us why they remain on a different level. He is one of the best in the business.


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