Yeng Guiao battles old crew

For the first time in six years, Yeng Guiao will be on the opposite side of the court when his new team, Rain or Shine, collides with his old squad, NLEX, in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup today at the Philsports Arena.

Action starts at 5:45 p.m. following the 3 p.m. collision between Converge and Terrafirma that will mark the league’s return to the historic Pasig venue for the first time in a long while.

Tough task awaits Guiao.

He, in fact, will be handling a young Elasto Painters squad that failed to make the playoffs for two straight conferences under the mentorship of Chris Gavina.

On the contrary, in Guiao’s 18 conferences with Rain or Shine, he led the franchise to the finals six time with two titles before signing a five-year deal to become the head coach and general manager of the Road Warriors in 2018.

For NLEX, however, it’s a dawn of new era.

After a botched contract negotiation with Guiao, the Road Warriors unloaded promising sophomore Calvin Abueva and rotation player Raoul Soyud, who ended up with TNT Tropang Giga in a three-way deal with Blackwater.

The Road Warriors ended up with top overall pick Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and a pair of second-round choices, who could serve as their future cornerstones.

“I’m just here to provide whatever is needed. I’m not taking anybody’s place. I just want to help my team win,” said Ganuelas-Rosser, whose older brother plays for TNT Tropang Giga.

Ganuelas-Rosser is tipped to play a key role as NLEX is being hobbled with injuries to Anthony Semerad, JR Quinahan and Philip Paniamogan, forcing it to bring back an old warrior in Asi Taulava.

If ever the 49-year-old Taulava decides to play, he will match the record of Robert Jaworski Sr. for all-time number of seasons played at 23.

Still, focus will be on the imports with Earl Clark, a former teammate of late great Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers, will be bringing his wealth of National Basketball Association experience in powering the Road Warriors.

He will be matched up with Steve Taylor Jr., a 6-foot-9 forward who saw action in the Balkan League and the National Basketball League in Australia as well as professional leagues in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Taylor’s last assignment was in Israel in which he averaged an impressive 19.3 points and 13 rebounds per game.

Meanwhile, Terrafirma is bringing in a familiar face in Lester Prosper, who will be in for his third tour of duty in the PBA.

The 6-foot-10 Prosper, who played for the Indonesian national team as a naturalized player, also saw action for the San Miguel Beer.

In his previous stint with the Dyip in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, Prosper averaged 33.6 points, 16.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the field.

But Prosper is going to have his hands full when he faces Quincy Miller, an NBA veteran who will reinforce the FiberXers under new coach Aldin Ayo.

Miller, a 6-foot-10 forward, played for the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.

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