There’s a good reason why NLEX Road Warriors general manager and head coach Yeng Guiao embraced the philosophy of having a deep rotation. Through the years, we’ve seen him develop players and turn them to become vital cogs of his team.
Take the case of Raul Soyud, Mike Miranda, and Kenneth Ighalo among others, who are now integral members of the team’s deep rotation.
Soyud and Ighalo spent their early seasons being on the reserve list, but worked their way up to become key contributors of the team. In fact, Soyud, the 6’5” former University of the Philippines cager was even nominated for the Most Improved Player award in the recent Bubble tournament and earned him a spot for the Gilas Pilipinas pool, joining NLEX teammate Kiefer Ravena.
Then, there’s Miranda, who has turned out to be a steady presence up front for the Road Warriors. In one of the games against the powerhouse San Miguel Beermen, he played a perfect game, sinking in all his eight shots from the field and winding up with 22 points to lead the team to a 124-90 beatdown of their rivals.
Getting the break, according to Guiao, is the only thing these players need to prove themselves—a philosophy that has been tried and tested.
“Ang hinahanap lang ng karamihang player ‘just give me a break.’ When you say break, you’re not saying playing only two to three minutes. Kapag pinalaro mo ang player ng two or three minutes, hindi mo siya binibigyan ng break eh, you’re just destroying the player. No player will play well in two or three minutes,” said Guiao.
“Kapag ginamit mo ‘yung player, bigyan mo ng mga seven to eight minutes and then give him a chance in that seven to eight minutes to get another chance of going back to the court. When a player knows that, sa practice pa lang, magpupursige na ako,” he said.
These players complemented the usual finishers of the team like Ravena, Kevin Alas, Jericho Cruz and JR Quinahan, hoping the Road Warriors could come up with a successful wind up.
Majority of the games played by the squad, Guiao was able to utilize all his players in the lineup.
“When you have a deep rotation, sa akin kasi, it’s not really who you start. It’s very important to get a good start. That’s already integrated into that equation. But what’s important is who do you end the game with. Sino ba ‘yung nagtatapos? Sino ba ‘yung closers niyo? So during the game, they need to prove to themselves or to me, that they can be the closers,” said Guiao.
“Puwedeng mag-starting five kahit sino, pero ang iniisip ko, sino ba ang pangtapos ko in a close game? That’s when you want to figure out who will be your solid five to end the game. That’s the basis of it all,” Guiao said.