TIM Cone feels he’s got the right personnel to stop smooth-playing Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee as the San Mig Coffee Mixers and the Elasto Painters renew their rivalry in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cone’s squad bowed to the Elasto Painters during last season’s Governors Cup Finals that went the distance - motivation enough for the Mixers to redeem themselves in the best-of-seven series kicking off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The 55-year-old Cone, though, said winning the Philippine Cup alone is enough motivation in itself, considering that it’s the only conference each season limited to Filipino players.
Ranged against the physical Elasto Painters, Cone said he expects the series to be much tougher, especially as his superstars James Yap and Peter June Simon could expect a lot of banging and physical plays.
“It’s gonna be a battle because Rain or Shine plays hard. They play uniquely and they play good defensively as well,” Cone told Spin.ph after the team’s practice.
Cone said he’s also aware of what Lee can do when he’s on the floor, which is why he has prepared something defensively to try and slow down Rain or Shine’s 'Lee-thal weapon.'
“Rain or Shine has a lot of weapons, but I feel we can match up better against them. I also think we have the right players defensively to match up against Paul Lee. And we’ve got big guys who can guard Paul,” added Cone.
The two rivals split their two-game elimination round match up this conference. Rain or Shine pulled off an 80-79 nail-biting win on October 24 behind the heroics of Jeff Chan, who helped his team bounce back from an 18-point deficit.
San Mig Coffee then returned the favor on December 2, 93-92.