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PBA names Yeng Guiao as national team coach

September 25, 2008 11:09pm

MANILA, Philippines – Months of suspense finally came to an end Thursday when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) officially named Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao as the next man tasked with selecting, forming, and training the national squad with the ultimate goal of competing in the 2010 World Basketball Championship in Istanbul, Turkey.

Commissioner Renauld "Sonny" Barrios formally introduced Guaio at the PBA office at noon, barely 12 hours after breaking out the news to the 49-year-old mentor whose winning system with a Red Bull team bereft of marquee players has been the envy of many coaches around the league.

Guiao, who comes from an influential political clan from Pampanga where he currently serves as vice governor, was humbled by his selection to be the successor of Chot Reyes, now the Talk 'N' Text coach.

"This is a great honor and privilege that is only dreamed of by all the coaches, not only in the PBA but in the whole country," Guiao said shortly after he was ushered in from a hidden room inside the PBA office and joined Barrios on a makeshift podium. "I consider this as something which is even greater to a championship."

In 18 years of coaching in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, Guiao has won a total of five championships, two with Swift (RFM) and three with Red Bull. Just last season, he surprisingly steered the Photokina franchise to a pair of third place finishes notwithstanding the exodus of several Red Bull players to other teams.

Yeng has no prior experience calling the shots for the national team except as an assistant coach to Derek Pumaren in 1989 and competed in tournaments such as the Asian Men’s Basketball Championship (the forerunner of the FIBA-Asia), Jones Cup and the Southeast Asian Games.

“To me there is no other greater achievement than to represent your country in our chosen field which is basketball," added Guiao, also a former Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner.

Guiao becomes the sixth coach appointed to head a PBA-backed national squad after Robert Jaworski Sr (1990), Norman Black (1994), Tim Cone (1998), Jong Uichico (2002), and only recently, Reyes, whose best effort was a ninth-place finish in last year’s FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Tokushima, Japan.

Like the gentlemen before him, the outspoken Red Bull coach showed his human side and admitted the job at hand won’t be easy.

"I'm very nervous at this point because I know the task is daunting," Guiao said.

Barrios understands where Guiao is coming from, having been informed only of the appointment late Wednesday night, leaving him with with little time to settle down and ponder things out.

"Please give him some time to crystallize in his mind how he will form his team and program because he only knew he was the coach only last night," Barrios said. "So between now and last night, maybe he’s just 10 percent in his plans."

The commissioner had one else in mind perfect for the position other than Guiao.

"Even before I left (for the US), I’ve already talked to several people including coaches of past national teams and the not so recent past, and there was already an overwhelming endorsement of Yeng to be the next national coach," Barrios said. - GMANews.TV
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