RAIN or Shine coach Caloy Garcia rued how the Elastopainters played relaxed in the second half, causing them to collapse and drop the opening salvo of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal match against GlobalPort.
The Elastopainters missed out on the opportunity of making the semifinals when the Batang Pier nipped them, 114-113. Rain or Shine was unable to close out the contest when Maverick Ahanmisi failed to hit three of his four free throws late in the game.
“They never gave up,” Garcia said on their opponent. “They came back and they hit the big shot. I just felt that we couldn’t close it out because we couldn’t make our free throws. We turned the ball over and we gave them an opportunity to win the game.”
More than the missed free throws for Garcia, however, was how Rain or Shine got into the situation where it needed to hit crucial shots in the end game. Rain or Shine was already up by 16 late in the third quarter, but GlobalPort methodically chipped away the deficit before Jonathan Grey hit a corner three to lift the Batang Pier to a one-point victory.
“I felt that when we had a 16-point lead, I think we were just relaxed too much,” Garcia said. “We allowed them to go on a fastbreak, they scored eight straight points on fastbreaks. Even at the end of the third, I felt that we just relaxed too much.”
“That’s what I got mad at the players after the game. Even with a big lead, every team is capable of coming back. That’s what GlobalPort was able to prove today,” said Garcia.
Fortunately for Rain or Shine, the Elastopainters were the top-seed in the quarterfinals, and they can still close the series out on Thursday in the rubber match.
If not though, Rain or Shine, according to PBA statistics chief Fidel Mangonon, could be the fourth top-seed team together with B-Meg in the 2012 Philippine Cup (against Powerade), TNT in 2002 Governors’ Cup (against San Miguel), and TNT in the 1999 All-Filipino Cup (against Barangay Ginebra) to lose to the No. 8.
“The nice thing I can say about it is what we worked from the beginning, the twice-to-beat, and now, this loss. Probably, ‘yun lang nakuha naming advantage, getting the twice-to-beat,” said Garcia.
“I feel that it’s going to be a good game. We are still confident that we can come out with the win,” he said.