EVEN Caloy Garcia was left dumbfounded after Columbian Dyip dealt Rain or Shine yet another loss in the PBA on Wednesday night.
Continuing its surprise turnaround in the 2018 Philippine Cup, the Dyip stunned the Elasto Painters, 85-82, and remained very much in the hunt for a berth in the quarterfinals.
The win improved the Dyip’s record to 4-5 overall, right inside the top eight circle that will advance to the playoffs.
Significantly, they also asserted their mastery of the Elasto Painters, who they had beaten four straight games dating back to last season.
Asked about Rain or Shine’s misfortunes against Columbian, Garcia grappled for words.
“Hindi ko alam. Dapat bigyan na lang kami ng kotse ng Columbian,” he said with a grin.
Turning serious, the Rain or Shine coach added, “Siguro, they feel that they match up well against us, and they hit big shots in the end.”
Before Columbian’s streak of four wins against Rain or Shine, the former expansion franchise hadn’t beaten the Elasto Painters in nine consecutive games in its first three seasons in the league, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Garcia is not making excuses, but he believes the Elasto Painters are not the same team that won five straight games and was on top of the standings when the league went on a two-week break to give way to Team Pilipinas’ campaign in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
“We’re not ourselves,” said the Rain or Shine mentor. “After the long break, sabi ko sa kanila nag-iba na 'yung ugali nila. Parang naging selfish-minded sila.”
Despite their first back-to-back losses this season, the Elasto Painters remained on track for a top-two finish at the end of the eliminations for a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs.
They play the Meralco Bolts onext week for their final elimination round assignment.
“We still have a chance because we could end up at 8-3, and depending on the other games,” said Garcia. “We have to go hard against Meralco for us to have a chance at a top 2 spot.”