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Yeng Guiao’s Hilarious Take on Keith Datu’s Return: ‘We Made Sacrifices!’

MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine finally got the services of Keith Datu back in the lineup after having missed a number of games.

In his return for the Elasto Painters on Friday, Datu finished with 11 points and five rebounds built on three buckets from beyond the arc.

While Datu was feeling under the weather for the past few games, it seems like coach Yeng Guiao finally had the fix for his ailing big man.

“We sacrificed chickens and pigs for him to be able to play tonight,” said Guiao in jest after gaining a 113-101 victory over NLEX in the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Philsports Arena on Friday.

“But I feel like he’s okay now. What’s been happening to him is very rare so we’re hoping it doesn’t continue. Even he doesn’t understand what happened.”

Guiao revealed Datu’s state in Rain or Shine’s previous win over Blackwater on Saturday.

After the Elasto Painters squeaked past Blackwater at the same venue, the veteran tactician explained that Datu was always active in practice but he suddenly gets sick on game day.

“With Keith, before the games, he’s fine. On the morning of the games, he’s suddenly getting sick. It’s happened three times already. Pinatatawas na nga namin, ‘di namin alam sino’ng kumulam do’n e (We’re already having him checked, maybe he’s cursed,)” explained Guiao with his usual sense of humor.

“It’s the first time I saw that a player is good in practice but always gets sick when games are upcoming,” he added.

Datu certainly made his presence felt in his return, helping Rain or Shine snag its second straight win after beginning the conference with a five-game losing streak.

His activity in the paint also gave way for import Demetrius Treadwell to perform the way he did with a double-double of 23 points and 18 boards.

The rookie center was a part of Guiao’s local mob that buried the Road Warriors on offense with Beau Belga, Rey Nambatac and Andrei Caracut helping the squad with 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively in the dub.

While Rain or Shine looked like the dominator in the victory, the top coach clarified that games are still hard with everyone labeled as a competitor.

Fortunately for Guiao, Datu’s return to form is a huge help in trying to knot up wins and climb up the ladder.

“It’s not that easy, it’s still hard but it’s really different when you have a weapon like Keith. He’s a big man who can step out, shoot three’s, post up… That’s what we missed. Last games, we missed that and unexpectedly, we’re expecting him to play good.”