Yeng Guiao knows Rain or Shine finally, got the size to compete with the traditional powerhouse teams like San Miguel Beer, TNT, Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia.
But the outspoken ROS mentor has no plans of putting undue pressure on the team's pair of first round picks, knowing they will need some time to adjust to the professional league when the PBA Season 48 gets underway this November 5.
“It will take time. It's not instant because even if you got good talent, there's an adjustment period, there's a transition period,” Guiao said, following Rain or Shine's decision to select two big men in Luis Villegas from the University of the East as the third overall pick, followed by Filipino-American Keith Datu at no. 4 during the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday, September 17 at the Market! Market! in Taguig.
Guiao is well aware it's been seven years since the Asian Coating franchise owned by big bosses Raymund Yu and Terry Que last tasted a PBA championship. But then again, he wouldn't want to put the burden too much on these two young big men to perform, even though Villegas and Datu have both, been stellar prior to their decision to join the PBA draft.
“Hoping that's a short time (of transition), but we need to give them enough time and not too much pressure on the guys to make an impact right away because sometimes, that (putting too much pressure (can delay) the players from bringing out their best,” he added.
The 6-foot-7 Villegas had a one-and-done season in the UAAP while playing for the UE Red Warriors.
His lone collegiate season with the Red Warriors saw him average 13.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals en route to earning a UAAP Mythical selection, along with Ateneo's Dave Ildefonso and Forthsky Padrigao, and the University of the Philippines' Carl Tamayo and MVP Malick Diouf.
On the other hand, Datu, another skilled 6-foot-7 forward, is making a transition from being a PBA 3×3 player at Wilcon, to the pro league's 5-on-5.
The good thing is, he's got ROS' veteran big men Beau Belga and Jewel Ponferada to mentor him as he makes his career move to the pro ranks.
Guiao explained they've already allotted two sure spots to accommodate their no. 3 and no. 4 picks in the first round, thus, ensuring the Elasto Painters of a huge upgrade on their front court.
“We can absorb two slots, we've reserved two spots for our no. 3 and no. 4 picks. And with the draft (pool) very deep, you have a good problem for that,” he said.
The 64-year-old Guiao said size has always been a main concern for the team, as seen once again by Rain or Shine's performance in the 42nd William Jones Cup last August where the team placed just seventh out of nine squads with its 2-6 record.
Guiao added that the team's three other picks: Adrian Nocum, Sherwin Concepcion, JC Collar and Larry Arpia will just have to earn their spots this week in practice.
“As for our other drafts, we're giving them a chance, we don't guarantee anything,” shared Guiao, a seven-time PBA champion coach.
Former University of the Philippines big man Henry Galinato, whom Rain or Shine selected in the second round at 15th overall, has been traded moments later, to TNT in a deal that has been agreed upon before Sunday.
Guiao said TNT will be parting with its future first-round pick, with details of that to be ironed out soon.
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