If the recent PBA On Tour allowed his team to gain some significant progress, coach Yeng Guiao feels Rain or Shine’s stint in the 42nd William Jones Cup which starts Saturday in Taiwan will only make his youth-laden squad even better.
“Our team could probably be even stronger after the Jones Cup,” Guiao said in Filipino before the Elasto Painters face Chinese-Taipei A, one of the teams the host country has traditionally fielded in the annual international tournament, in a scheduled 7 p.m. meeting at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
Rain or Shine came off a strong showing in the league’s two-month exhibition series that produced eight wins in 11 games, good for second behind Magnolia, which won all of its assignments.
Guiao and the rest of the Elasto Painters liked what they saw despite the exhibition nature of the On Tour, even mentioning some names he felt took the chance at improving themselves.
“We’re happy with our performance in the recent PBA On Tour because we finished second to Magnolia, which took it seriously unlike other teams that fielded second or third stringers,” Guiao said. “We took it seriously as well, because we want to continue the process of improving and developing our players.
“That’s why we’re happy that we finished second. Our [initial] objective was to experiment with the system that we wanted to implement and, individually, give the players confidence and additional playing time. And we did just that, and more.”
“It’s a big upside for guys like Santi Santillan, Anton Asistio, Andrei Caracut, Nick Demusis and Jhonard Clarito because they showed that they can put up a good fight against any team,” added Guiao.
Those players will face a sterner test against a Taiwanese side that is expected to have the main players on its national team.
Naturalized player Ange Kouame and import Nick Evans reinforce the team to make sure Rain or Shine won’t be getting beat up against high-level competition that includes Iran, Korean champion Anyang KGC, US NCAA Division I side University of California, Irvine and the U-22 team of Japan.
Other participants are Chinese-Taipei B and the national teams of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
“Aside from Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, this team does not have much international exposure because they’re young,” said Guiao. “[But] whatever knowledge, experience they could get in this Jones Cup, it’s going to be a big help for us once the PBA season gets going.”
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