THE dreaming never stops for Rain or Shine.
After the franchise claimed its breakthrough championship in the PBA by beating fancied B-Meg Llamados in the Governors Cup Finals, the proud team owners are now setting their sights on the future and looking to achieve the same success.
“Now that we have finally accomplished our dream, we dare to dream more championships,” said Raymund Yu, who bankrolls the Asian Coatings franchise with best friend and business partner Terry Que.
The Elasto Painters wore pre-game shirts during the best-of-seven title series that has the words `We Dare To Dream’ printed in front in big, bold letters.
But winning is nothing new to the two low-profile owners whose passion for the game abounds.
Their Welcoat Dragons have built a dynasty in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, winning a total of six championships in a span of a decade. Ironically, Yeng Guiao, the man who steered Rain or Shine to its first ever PBA crown, was PBL commissioner when Welcoat won the first of its multiple titles.
But when they finally decided to make a jump to the big league following the disbandment of the Formula Shell franchise in 2006, the team hardly enjoyed the same success in their first five seasons, their best finish coming in the 2008-09 Fiesta Conference when they made it to the semis and placed fourth behind import Jai Lewis.
The team’s fortunes finally turned around shortly upon the arrival of Guiao, the firebrand champion mentor who had success with teams Swift and Red Bull in the past, and one who’s known of getting the best out of his players.
Guiao initiated some house cleaning that saw the departures of star players Sol Mercado and Jay-R Reyes, the arrival of talented role players such as Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, and Ronjay Buenafe, and later on, the acquisition of super rookie Paul Lee.
Fast forward to the season-ending Governors Cup, the Elasto Painters made up for their early exit in the Commissioner’s Cup by topping the elimination round with just a single loss in nine games.
When they finally made the Finals against the Llamados, Yu admitted he knew the Elasto Painters’ time has come.
“I just felt it was our time,” he said. “I saw in the players’ eyes the desire.”
Even after doubts began to hound them shortly after squandering a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Llamados, the Rain or Shine owners remained confident the Elasto Painters could pull this one off.
Playing a decisive Game Seven, according to Yu, even favored Rain or Shine – from a business standpoint.
“Napaganda yung nagkaroon ng Game Seven, dumami exposure namin (brand),” said Yu, finally letting out a hearty laugh.