Multi-titled Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao credited his drive for basketball excellence to the late legendary coach Baby Dalupan.
One of the most outspoken and fiery coaches in the PBA today, the 57-year old mentor actually looked up to “The Maestro” who steered the legendary Crispa squad to championships during the league’s first 10 years.
“Pag si coach Baby yung nagsalita, bow ka na lang sa kanya and siguro to a certain extent, yun din yung nag-influence sa akin,” shared the mercurial coach on the night the PBA gave a special tribute to the respected former PBA coach.
Guiao said he was very young back then, when he had a chance to face Dalupan at the sidelines as the latter coached Purefoods in 1990.
Guiao’s dream-like showdown with Dalupan was cut short though after 2 years as the winningest coach in the land decided to retire after winning 15 league championships.
Pitting coaching skills with the “Maestro” though was an accomplishment in itself for the Rain or Shine mentor.
“Pwede na akong mamatay nun, nakasama ko na, nakalaban ko na si coach Baby,” narrated Guiao, who had his PBA coaching debut with Pop Cola, then owned by the RFM franchise in 1990. “I was that serious, and this is was as good as it can get.”
But through time, Guiao admitted that he emulated Dalupan’s style of keeping his rotation unpredictable in order to create match-up advantages and create mismatches against his opponents, a style that is evident on how he handles Rain or Shine.
“He was so unorthodox, that’s why sa akin ginagawa ko rin. For me I don’t want to be unpredictable, and I don’t let the opponents read you,” he said.
The former Pampanga congressman also took note Dalupan’s occasional emotional outbursts to his players and at times, game officials. But then again, he did all that for the love of the game.
“He expressed his emotions, not just on the referees but also on his players. But everybody knew after that, he had no ill intention over everybody,” shared Guiao, who was ejected for the second straight game in Rain or Shine’s 101-87 loss to Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
Guiao recalled even though Dalupan was already out of coaching loop years later, he still receives very encouraging word from the “Maestro”.
“Sabi nya magtiyaga ka lang, darating din yan,” said Guiao. “You kind of hang on to those words especially coming from him, I’m very grateful.”
And work hard he did as Guiao already has 7 titles in the PBA, the most recent, a championship with the Elasto Painters in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Certainly, Dalupan was a one of a kind mentor in the Philippines and Guiao took pride on playing the rhythm of ‘The Maestro’. – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH