SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao hopes that fans would be allowed to troop to venues and watch the games live again come the next PBA season, whenever that may be.
The outspoken mentor admitted that he misses the crowd and the liveliness they bring, a luxury the league didn’t have this season as it played in a secluded place to minimize the risk of the coronavirus disease,
“I’m hopeful that we can do a normal tournament, a normal setup with the crowd. Nakaka-miss din ‘yung crowd. Kahit ano pang sabihin niyo, nakaka-miss ‘yung may mga fans tayo,” said Guiao.
He acknowledges, though, that it will depend on the situation going forward. He’s aware of the news of a potentially effective vaccine candidate, and he hopes that the country could have it by next year.
“Everything will still depend on the situation… There’s news that there’s already a vaccine, but I don’t know if that vaccine can get here early next year. So maybe if that’s available, that would make it easier for us,” he said.
Still, Guiao has no issues with the league hosting another bubble competition for its 46th season. The league already has the groundwork, and knows where it can improve for next time.
“To me, this experience, this bubble in itself is already proof that if ever we need to go into another bubble again, we’ll be able to manage it better. We’ll be able to probably even improve on our practices that we’ve done in this bubble,” he said.
“Parang investment natin ‘to in the future. Just in case we need to do it, we know we can do it and we can do it better. If it’s not necessary to do it, then that’s even better. That means we’ll go with the regular tournament.
“But at least now we have choices, we have options. Hindi katulad ng dati, nangangapa lang tayo. Pero ngayon alam na natin,” furthered the seven-time champion coach.
Guiao himself was among those pushing for the league to resume the season inside the bubble, batting for Clark as the host location. The PBA ultimately chose the former US military base over 20 entities.
The former Pampanga vice governor with the execution of the bubble plan, thanking the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the Clark Development Corporation, and the PBA for their efforts to make it work.
Guiao and the Road Warriors will leave the bubble soon, though, along with Terrafirma, Blackwater, and NorthPort. All four ball clubs have been eliminated from the 2020 Philippine Cup.
“I’m very happy,” he expressed. “We were able to preserve the bubble. We’ve had some minor, minor problems, but everybody was safe. Everyone’s negative. So to me, that’s really the main thing about the bubble. We were able to conduct our tournament, and at the same time, keep everybody safe, and at the same time give our audience a treat.
“All the things we set out to do, we were able to accomplish. So to me, this bubble is really successful. Personally, I’d like to thank CDC, the Clark Development Corporation, the BCDA under [Chairman] Vince Dizon, and of course the PBA. We were able to put together a safe, entertaining, well-organized tournament,” Guiao added.
“And it’s been done in my place, in my home district, in my home province. So that makes me proud. That’s another consolation that I’m taking away from this experience.”