EVEN after closing out 2013 with three straight wins, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao isn’t taking things lightly when his team opens the new year against Globalport in thePLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
During the New Year break, Guiao said the Elasto Painters consciously prepared some defensive schemes to ensure the Batang Pier won’t be able to score a repeat against them.
The Batang Pier scored a pulsating 90-88 win over the Elasto Painters the first time the two teams met.
“The mistake we committed the first time we faced them was we let guys like Sol Mercado and Jay Washington to take over,” Guiao told Spin.ph after the team’s practice on Saturday.
Mercado shot 20 points and issued seven assists, while the 6-foot-7 Washington, whose career got revitalized at Globalport, also chipped in 20 on top of 13 rebounds to propel the two-year old franchise to the upset win last Dec. 8.
Big man Beau Belga will be back in action after missing the team’s last two games with measles, though Rain or Shine will miss the services of rookie guard Jeric Teng, who hurt his knee during the team's 101-77 whipping of San Mig Super Coffee last week.
Guiao felt his team gave the Batang Pier the confidence during the second half, allowing Globalport to erect an 18-point lead before holding off the Elasto Painters’ late-game rally for the win.
But with momentum on their side by virtue of their three-game winning streak, Guiao is confident Rain or Shine can get its much-awaited payback win.
“We prepared hard for this (Globalport game) because we don’t want to repeat the same mistake we had the last time,” said Guiao.
“And with momentum on our side, we feel we are peaking at just the right time.”
A win will keep Rain or Shine’s hopes alive for a lock of at least the no. 2 slot, which would guarantee a twice-to-beat incentive.
On the other hand, Globalport coach Ritchie Ticzon said beating Rain or Shine requires more than just outgunning the boys of Guiao.
“We need to play good defense against their shooters,” Ticzon said, referring to Rain or Shine’s armada of outside shooters led by Jeff Chan, Paul Lee, Chris Tiu and even big men like Belga and JR Quinahan.
“We also have to match their intensity and aggressiveness both on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.”
Mercado will try to bounce back from a sub-par performance on December 29, after scoring just 12 points on a frigid 3-of-17 field goal shooting as Globalport bowed to Barako Bull, 95-108, and lost for the third straight time.