WITH momentum back on their side, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters shoot for a commanding 3-1 lead against San Mig Coffee in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters came back with greater resolve in Game Three following a clinical 98-72 lynching of the Mixers on Christmas Day for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair.
The boys of coach Yeng Guiao fought like wounded tigers, controlling the boards, 53-46, while holding the Mixers to just 38 percent shooting from the field (30-of-79) to regain control of the series.
“Game 4 is going to be crucial for us and for them (Mixers). I think if we can go up 3-1, we should be able to get one foot in the door. So that game is going to be big for us,” said Guiao of their 6:45 p.m, encounter with coach Tim Cone and the Mixers.
Guiao added they won’t be making much of an adjustment because it’s the Mixers who will have to do most of it if they hope to level the series again.
“Again, the burden of adjustment shifts to San Mig…But for me, Game Four should be the biggest game for this series,” he added.
Rain or Shine’s defensive stoppers – Jireh Ibanes, Ryan Arana, and Ronnie Matias - did a splendid job against San Mig Coffee’s ace gunner James Yap, who was held down to a measly six points on Tuesday night after exploding for 34 big points in Game 2.
The three Rain or Shine defenders alternated in defending Yap, sticking on the two-time MVP like a leech throughout the game.
“Obvious naman…yung depensa nila, hawak ng hawak, bangga ng bangga, pag nag-low post ako, binangga ako, binangga ko din siya (Arana) pero walang tawag. Dapat consistent lang talaga ang mga referees at makita nila,” said an obviously dejected Yap, who shot an ice-cold 1-of-11 from the field in 30 minutes of action.
But one thing’s for sure, the Mixers won’t take Game Four sitting down.
Peter June Simon, who led San Mig with 22 points in a losing cause in Game 3, said the Mixers will have to regain their aggressiveness and match the kind of intensity Rain or Shine had to prevent falling to a deeper 1-3 hole.
“Kailangan namin maging aggressive. Kasi expected naman talaga na magiging physical ang Rain or Shine,” said the sweet-shooting Simon.