COACH Gee Abanilla hopes Saturday’s Game Three loss would be enough to jolt Petron and make the team realize that Rain or Shine is capable of beating the Boosters on any given night.
It’s also a reminder that the Elasto Painters are the defending PBA Governors Cup defending champions and won’t go down without a fight, the Petron boss added.
And so the Boosters will try go for it again and finish the best-of-five semifinal series on Monday when they tangle with the Elasto Painters in Game Four at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an 87-92 loss that snapped the team’s 11-game winning streak, Petron is eyeing a return trip to the Finals after two years in the 7:15 p.m. match.
But Abanilla knows the task won’t be easy, considering the physicality and resilience the Elasto Painters showed the last time.
“Talagang ini-expect na namin yan (physicality) because they (E-Painters) will try to do something on their situation,” said Abanilla, who once served as Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s assistant during their time with Red Bull several years back.
Abanilla said the Boosters need to develop their killer instinct and play with a greater sense of urgency.
“Every time you’re in this kind of level, you need to have a certain kind of sense of urgency. And that’s what we need to work on,” said the rookie mentor.
“We want to create an identity for ourselves, whether we’re up or we’re down, we need to play the same way. In fact, we’re slowly trying to build this culture and hopefully, we can regroup as we face them again on Monday,” Abanilla added.
But for Guiao, Rain or Shine finally got the first step after securing a first win in the series and avoid being swept unceremoniously in the series.
And the next goal is to win again and make a series out of it.
“We’re just trying to prolong the series and make a series out of it. If we can win on Monday, we have a serious attempt at the Finals,” said Guiao, who didn’t coach Rain or Shine until the start of the second quarter of Game Three after being stuck in heavy traffic from Pampanga.
The Elasto Painters coach is also hopeful his gunners led by Jeff Chan and import Arizona Reid, along with big men JR Quinahan and Beau Belga could knock down their outside shots to give them a fighting chance in the series.
“We just need to grind it out. There will never be easy games,” said the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.
“All the three games are hard games. We want to make it hard for them (Boosters) to win. We know we won’t win against them easy, so we just want to reciprocate that also,” he added.
Chan rediscovered his shooting touch after struggling for the most part of the conference, firing 18 points spiked by four three-point shots in leading the Elasto Painters.