Don Trollano hopes that his reunion with Yeng Guiao in NLEX could lead to the same success they shared in Rain or Shine not so long ago.
The two won a PBA championship together when the Elasto Painters ruled the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup at the expense of Talk N Text. They also gave the franchise its second title in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
Now, they have a shot of replicating that feat with the Road Warriors, together with some of the players who were important in that memorable run in veteran big man JR Quiñahan and gunslinging guard Jericho Cruz.
“Sana ngayong season, maulit dahil kasama ko rin si Jericho at JR noon. Hopefully, manalo tayo uli, Coach,” Trollano said in a video posted by NLEX.
The 28-year-old arrived at the MVP Group ball club through a three-team trade featuring TNT and Blackwater days before the Rookie Draft. The deal also saw the Road Warriors send their no. 4 pick to the Tropang Giga via Bossing.
Guiao had earlier expressed that he “strongly indicated my position on the matter”. Nonetheless, he’s glad to have Trollano, whom he picked at 15th overall in 2015 when he was still RoS’ chief tactician.
“I’m certainly glad na napunta sa amin si Don. Kasi kilala ko naman ‘to,” said Guiao, who also included the Adamson University product to the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2018 Asian Games.
“Whenever we succeed in a certain group, there’s always that bond; there’s always that memory of you doing good things together. So meron akong ganung attachment dun sa pagsasama namin ni Don.”
But beyond the memories, Guiao feels excited to mentor a Don Trollano who has vastly improved since his early years in the league.
The 6-foot-3 forward is coming off his best season so far. He led Blackwater in scoring and rebounding with per-game averages of 14.2 points and 8.5 boards in 29.0 minutes, as he embraced the lead role for the Elite.
“Actually, malaki na ‘yung improvement ni Don in terms of ‘yung polishing ng skills niya, ‘yung basketball IQ niya, ‘no,” Guiao said.
“At tsaka even physically, ‘no. Nung unang galing si Don from the draft, he was not this big or strong. He’s gotten bigger, he’s gotten stronger, he plays with a lot more composure. So malaki na ‘yung inimprove niya.”
Despite his vast improvements, Trollano — who averaged career-highs of 14.18 points and 8.45 rebounds during the PBA bubble — vowed to Guiao that he is still the same scrappy player his mentor drafted six years ago.
“Siyempre super excited. Madami nang scorer sa NLEX with JR, Kiefer [Ravena], Kevin [Alas], and Jericho,” said Trollano.
“Sa akin yung little things na lang like staying low and taas ‘yung kamay mo. Madaming magagawa ‘yun.”