WHAT confidence a championship makes.
Guiao said the Elasto Painters are definitely still riding the crest of that successful inaugural title campaign which allowed them to get past powerhouse teams Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Mixers in the playoffs en route to earning a second straight trip to the Finals.
“Meron namang momentum na. Aside siyempre na bata ang team ko, I think the biggest factor is the experience the boys gained. Yung kahit bata pa eh nakapasok na sa semifinals, then sa Finals,” said the Rain or Shine coach and Pampanga vice-governor in a talk with Spin.ph a day after his team finished off the Mixers in their semis series with a 90-83 win in Game 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I always say that we are a lot tougher now mentally because of the experience we had winning the Governors Cup last season. So now, the coming together of the team and the maturity they gained is big,” explained Guiao.
And that what excites Guaio the most, seeing the potential of his team in the coming years.
As one of the youngest teams in the league with an average age of 27-years-old, the Elasto Painters have the potential to win more championships, including a possible breakthrough All-Filipino crown.
And considering the level of playing field in the league today, winning at least two titles is already an achievement in itself, according to Guiao.
“The league is so evenly matched so that winning back-to-back is quite an achievement in itself. In fact, if you look at our series with Ginebra, we were not favored. When we matched up with San Mig in the semis, we’re not also favored,” noted the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.
“And if ever we face Talk ‘N Text or Alaska (in the Finals) we’re still not gonna be favored. Yet, we relish that position because it relieves the pressure off our shoulders.”
Although seeing action in the Finals for the second straight time, Guiao doesn’t entertain thoughts yet of a rare Grand Slam, something that’s still farthest from his mind.
“Hindi pa,” Guiao said. “Siguro puwede `yung reverse Grand Slam since nanalo na rin kami ng Governors Cup last season tapos ngayon nasa Finals na.”
Prospect of the Elasto Painters being a force to be reckoned with in the coming Commissioner’s Cup is very much feasible as they will be parading former NBA center, 7-foot-3 Bruno Sundov of Croatia as their import.