RAIN or Shine is focused on the deciding Game Three of its PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals series against Meralco and nothing else.
Shooting guard Chris Tiu said the Elasto Painters are hardly bothered by the off-court episode that has so far marred the best-of-three affair, capped by the verbal confrontation between coach Yeng Guiao and Fil-Am player Chris Hodge.
“We are not thinking of what happened in the last game of the series,” said Tiu on Thursday during the formal launching of the Master Game Face All-Star Basketball Challenge, where he is a product endorser.
Rain or Shine won Game Two on Wednesday night, 102-93, to level the series at 1-1, although the victory turned out to be a mere footnote in light of the harsh words uttered by Guiao meant for the 6-foot-4 Hodge.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor called the Meralco forward `mongoloid’, after he waited for Hodge to make his way from the court to the hallway leading to the players’ dugout.
Guiao tried to confront Hodge for the hard foul he issued against Elasto Painters rookie Raymund Almazan, whom the Meralco player hit with a closed fist while going for a rebound in the final 35 seconds and the outcome of the match already settled.
The Commissioner’s Office later fined Guiao P100,000 for his derogatory remark, while Hodge was fined P20,000 and the foul called on him upgraded to flagrant foul penalty 2.
But Tiu was quick to point out Game Two is now a thing of the past as the Elasto Painters are in the process of preparing for the all-important Game Three on Saturday.
“We are concentrating on Game Three, what adjustments to make, and play the Rain or Shine brand of basketball,” said Tiu, who had six points in the Game Two win.
“Right now, it’s the battle of the minds. Whoever is mentally tough will come out victorious,” Tiu said when asked of his thoughts about the short series.
The sophomore out of Ateneo said Game Two showed the desire of both teams to make it to the semifinals, the reason why he expects the knockout match to be an even more physical game.
“It goes to show the desire to win. That’s the good thing from that perspective. Both teams really want to win and that is why it’s getting physical. We are playing for the fans and the organization. I guess in the end, the team who can handle the physicality and maintain composure will win,” said Tiu.
Meanwhile, Tiu looks forward to getting involved once again in the Master Game Face All-Star Challenge set June 21, where he faces a team led by fellow Master product endorser Marc Pingris.
Tiu is glad to be involved in another project of Master, which he has been endorsing since his college days.
“I've been their ambassador since my Ateneo days when I made a TV commercial with Master. After all this years, kuya-kuya na nga ako ng mga players ngayon, nandito pa rin ako,” he said.