NOTWITHSTANDING the recent losses suffered by both Barangay Ginebra and Petron, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao still considers the two powerhouse franchises as the teams to beat heading into the playoffs of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup
Of the two, the ever observant and analytical mentor admitted being wary of the Kings’ tall frontline and complete arsenal.
“Of course, they (Kings) are the top team right now and they will contend very prominently sa semis or maybe even sa Finals. All of the teams are really looking at how to beat Ginebra and what their weaknesses are,” Guiao shared to Spin.ph.
They Said It!
“Pinag-aaralan talaga ng mga coaches dahil mahirap silang talunin. Ang hirap mag-match dahil sa size nila. Kaya you have to find ways to match up with them." - Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao
“Pinag-aaralan talaga ng mga coaches dahil mahirap silang talunin. Ang hirap mag-match dahil sa size nila. Kaya you have to find ways to match up with them,” he added.
To have a complete grasp of the kind of team Ginebra is, Guiao personally scouted the Kings by intently monitoring the showdown between the league’s most popular ballclub and San Mig Super Coffee that followed the game between Rain or Shine and Globalport last Sunday.
See video here:
The former national coach definitely was impressed with what he saw.
“Maganda kasi ang chemistry ng Ginebra. Maganda ang balance ng team nila. Dati (Mark) Caguioa lang o (LA) Tenorio lang. Guard oriented lang sila dati. Ngayon nag balance na dahil sa dalawang malaki,” Guiao noted.
“Lalong lumalim. Nadagdagan ng dimension yung laro nila.”
Guiao admitted Rain or Shine facing Ginebra in the semis may be imminent, but that is not the focus of the team’s campaign right now going to its last three games in the eliminations.
“Basta kami, placing muna ang atensyon namin. Kung makakalaban sila so be it,” declared the congressman from the first district of Pampanga. “Kailangan lang maganda puwesto namin. Top Six (after elims) okay na kami nun.”
At the moment, Ginebra occupies the top spot with a 9-2 record, while Rain or Shine and Petron are tied for second with identical 8-3 slates. The top two teams after the eliminations enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
Asked if he wants to avoid an early clash with the Kings be it in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Guiao replied: "As much as possible.”
“Pero para sabihin na iwasan o maiwasan namin ang Ginebra, ayoko namang ganun. Psychologically, magkakaroon ka ng inferiority nun o ma-i-intimidate ka. Hindi na healthy yun,” he said.
“Pag ganun baka ma-influence 'yung sarili mong laro. Saka tulad nun, maiiwasan mo Ginebra kunwari, Petron naman makakatapat mo sa kabila, ganun din,” he added.
“Iwas ka sa isa, sa isa ka tatama. Kaya pabayaan mo lang yung natural na force ng laro.”
But Guiao believes if there is one team capable of giving both Ginebra and Petron a big challenge, it’s no less than Rain or Shine.
“Kaya natin (tapatan ang Ginebra at Petron). Yung kumpiyansa (ko) sa team natin, andyan naman lagi. Lalo na ngayon we are peaking at the right moment, we’re a little bit more aggressive, nakakatulong yun,” said Guiao, who described his team as the ‘dark horse' for the title.
Asked how he sees Ginebra’s weakness, Guiao retorted there was none.
“Walang weakness ang Ginebra. Ang puwede mo lang gawin, improve mo lang yung sarili mo.”
“Para hanapan mo sila ng weakness, darating ang panahon ikaw pa mawawala sa focus. Sa ngayon, hindi pa lumilitaw ang weakness nila. Ang maganda diyan, huwag mong intindihan sila. Intindihin mo lang sarili mo, pagandahin mo lang sarili mong laro.” he concluded.