CHRIS Tiu and Gabe Norwood said the last thing Rain or Shine wants is another runner-up finish, vowing to make a last stand in Game Six of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals on Sunday against Talk ‘N Text.
The Elasto Painters played lethargically in the last three quarters of Game Five, allowing the Tropang Texters to come away with a 103-94 win and move within a win of a seventh league championship.
Rain or Shine has gone 0-3 in the finals over the past two seasons, starting with a 4-0 shutout at the hands of Talk ‘N Text in the 2013 Philippine Cup, followed by a 4-2 loss in the 2014 Philippine Cup to San Mig (now Purefoods Star) and a 3-2 decision to San Mig in last season’s Governors Cup.
The Elasto Painters will have another runner-up silverware in their hands if they don't shape up on Sunday.
“This is my fourth (Finals appearance) out of the last eight conferences. Three times na tayong kinapos eh and I really want at least to experience a championship in the pro level,” Tiu told Spin.ph.
The 6-foot-5 Norwood echoed Tiu’s sentiments, saying the Elasto Painters need to come out with a lot of energy and fire in Game Six to exorcise the ghost of their failed championship bids.
But for that to happen, the 30-year-old Norwood explained their need to execute the game plan to the letter, knowing they are up against a very disciplined Talk ‘N Text side.
“It really came down to energy. We had a pretty good game plan in place and we started off pretty well (in Game Five), but for some reason, we got out of it, made some mental mistakes which cost us (the game),” explained the three-time PBA All-Defensive Team member.
“We can't afford to let them (Tropang Texters) make big runs. So now we have to get back and we have to play harder no matter what the game plan is,” he added.
Rain or Shine, which got off to a furious 20-11 start in Game Five, eventually relinquished control when it started to fall into a maze of turnovers. The Elasto Painters finished the game with 16 turnovers, which the Tropang Texters translated into 16 turnover points.
[See Guiao on Game Five defeat: 'We were always half a step slow, a full step behind']
Tiu, who finished Game Five with five points and six assists, admitted the Elasto Painters lacked the energy on the defensive end, which allowed Talk ‘N Text’s trio of Ranidel de Ocampo, import Ivan Johnson and combo guard Jayson Castro to run riot.
“I don’t want to point any fingers, but I think we failed to execute offensively on our game plan. Then, we weren’t able to make the stops we wanted which gave them confidence and got them going,” noted the 29-year-old Tiu, Rain or Shine’s pick at seventh overall in the 2012 PBA draft.
With De Ocampo, Johnson and Castro hitting from angles for the Tropang Texters, Norwood said they are now left in a “pick-your-poison” situation come Sunday.
“That’s what they do (rely on the three Talk ‘N Text players). They’ve done that basically since they put that team together,” said Norwood.
“Jayson has developed so much as an outside shooter now. He’s not just a one-man threat of going to the basket, and not to mention Ivan, or Kelly (Williams) and Jay Washington, who all can explode also, so you can’t focus on one guy,” he added.
“But when it comes down to it, it’s just the three guys now doing the damage.”
Tiu has one fervent wish for Rain or Shine.
“We have to play with a lot of heart and show that we really want this championship.”
[See Game Five GALLERY]