MULTI-titled basketball coach Yeng Guiao said Cebuano spitfire guard Jimwell Torion was the most difficult player he’d ever had to coach.
In a recent webinar by Hoops International Coaches and Blackwater, the fiery head coach of NLEX reminisced the days when he had Torion under his wing. Guiao clarified that it was not that Torion was a bad person but rather there were things outside of basketball that he could not get a handle on.
“It’s not that he was a bad person; he was a really good player. Maybe there were some influences. We all know those things happen,” said Guiao of the former standout of the Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology Skyblazers.
After catching the eye of Guiao during the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL) VisMin Cup in 1998, Torion eventually made his way to Red Bull in the PBL. He was then chosen as one of the players the franchise would elevate when it joined the PBA in 2000. Guiao, Torion and Red Bull would go on to win three PBA championships.
However, Torion would soon fall prey to distractions outside of basketball that would derail his blossoming career.
“There were some influences outside of basketball that would have a bearing on his decision-making,” said Guiao.
“There were some things that maybe, would have rather not been done or decisions that were made,” he added.
It was in 2003 when Torion was suspended indefinitely by thenPBA commissioner Noli Eala, after the guard tested positive for an illegal substance. The suspension was later on lifted after he completed a rehabilitation program.
However, it didn’t take long for Torion to get himself into trouble once again after he committed a hard foul to then-rookie Jimmy Alapag that broke the latter’s nose. Torion was given an eight-month suspension for that incident that was later brought down to just four after a successful appeal.
He was soon released by Red Bull in 2006 and played for Sta. Lucia and then, Air21, before his PBA career came to an end in 2007. In all, Torion finished his PBA career with decent averages of 7.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. / JNP