NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao lamented that PBA had become a four-team race between Ginebra, San Miguel, Magnolia, and TNT due to the busy off-season of the SMC teams.

/ 14 March 2021

Gusto ng mga PBA fans, maganda mga laban, pare-parehas ‘yang lakas ng mga teams. Labanan talaga, pagalingan talaga. Kaya lang nga, tingin ko merong mga teams talaga na sobrang lakas na,” Guiao said in an interview with The Casedown.

Upon seeing the line-up of other teams, the NLEX head coach raised concerns about the growing imbalance in the league as if it has been a battle for the fifth spot.

Ang feeling ko nga, nung nakita ko ‘yung mga line-up na ‘yan, ang feeling ko na lang, ang pinaglalabanan na lang dito fifth place eh,” Guiao added.

The multiple trades that happened this past month may turn Asia’s first pro league into a veritable four-horse race.

Dati, sinasabi natin, kapag may isang malakas na team, second place na lang ang pinaglalabanan, alam na natin kung sino ang magcha-champion. Pero ngayon, ang tingin ko, fifth place na lang ang pinaglalabanan.

‘Yung Ginebra, ‘yung San Miguel, ‘yung Talk ‘N Text, tsaka ‘yung Magnolia, top four teams, palagay ko mahirap na buwagin ‘yun,” he added.

Giao mentioned that despite Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, Meralco Bolts, and Alaska Aces became strong this off-season it will be hard to take down these top four teams.

“Although of course, lumakas din ‘yung Phoenix, lumakas ‘yung Meralco, lumakas din ‘yung Alaska, I hope lalakas din kami. Ang hirap ng buwagin ‘yung apat na team, ‘yun kasi sobrang lakas na,” said Guiao.

He also expressed his concerns that the core of Gilas Pilipinas is now playing for the Big Four, most of them he had coached in the Fiba Basketball World Cup, the Asian qualifiers, and the Asian Games.

“Ginebra, for example. Eh kalahati na ng Gilas team ko ’yun eh. Nandoon na si Christian, nandoon na si Stanley, nandoon na si Japeth, nandoon na si LA, nandoon na si Scottie. Eh Gilas team ’yun eh. Gilas team ko ’yun eh. Nagamit ko ‘yun sa window, ‘yung iba nagamit ko sa World Cup.”

“Imagine that kind of firepower that you have. You can’t out-talent the team. You can’t outcoach Tim Cone. Paano mo pa tatalunin?”