Raul Soyud NLEX

FILE – NLEX big man Raul Soyud scores in the paint against TNT. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines — Yeng Guiao’s tough love found another beneficiary, and this time it’s big man Raul Soyud.

Usually a reserve player playing–at best–as the seventh man off the bench for NLEX, Soyud found his calling this season and has flourished under Guiao’s bruising frontcourt.


Soyud is enjoying the most productive of his career and his scoring has more than doubled from the previous conference jumping from 4.7 points a game during the 2019 Governors’ Cup to 9.9 ppg in the 2020 Philippine Cup.

The 6-foot-5 center’s rebounding also had a bump from 4.3 in the previous conference to 6.8 this season.


Guiao, who’s had a penchant for developing players, was proud that Soyud is gaining attention this season.

“It’s a good thing that he’s getting noticed now, usually nobody ever takes time to look at him,” said Guiao after NLEX beat Rain or Shine 94-74 Wednesday at Angeles University Foundation.

“I think he’s one example of a player who was really relegated to the last or at the end of the bench but worked his ass off to get to play the playing time that he has right now.”

Guiao has had players throughout his career break out from either obscurity, dire draft rankings, or practically being unwanted.

Players such as Larry Fonacier, Kenneth Ighalo, and Jericho Cruz all played and flourished under Guiao.

Fonacier was the 14th overall pick in the 2005 Draft but became the Rookie of the Year when he played for Guiao in Red Bull while Ighalo barely scored a bucket during his first year with NLEX became an integral part of the Road Warriors’ rotation in 2019 and averaged a career-high 10.7 points in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.

Cruz, meanwhile, was decent in his rookie season but he doubled his production to 12 points a game to earn the Most Improved Player award in 2016 and he’s now experiencing a career renaissance under Guiao after playing for TNT in 2018.


As for Soyud, Guiao said that his temper and constant cursing eventually made the big man a better player.

“If you ask my players, they’ll tell you that I’ve been harsh to Raul on practices,” said Guiao. “I demanded a lot from him because I want to elevate his game. Right now JR [Quiñahan] serves as his mentor and I guess my cursing worked.”

“That’s the product of my temper and my mouth. He’s worked hard on his game on his own. He’s come a really long way and not a lot of people noticed what he’s doing.”

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