RAIN or Shine’s injury woes have forced coach Yeng Guiao to shift Gabe Norwood to the four spot, in the hope that the versatile guard can fill the void left by Jervy Cruz who injured his calf late in the team’s 107-79 win over Meralco last Saturday in Davao City.
Guiao said Norwood’s role-shift is crucial at this point, since the Elasto Painters only have three healthy big men left — Beau Belga, JR Quinahan and Raymond Almazan with Cruz out for the next three weeks.
“Gabe already did that (shifted to power forward spot) last Saturday against Meralco, so parang part-time four-spot siya nun. Pero ngayon na iiksi ang rotation namin sa bigs, we have to move Gabe to the four spot,” Guiao told Spin.ph.
Rain or Shine guards Chris Tiu and Ryan Arana (hamstring) have missed a bulk of the games this conference, though both are expected to be activated when the team returns to action against NLEX next week.
Guiao said despite the manpower breakdown this season, he remains confident that the long break they have would give them enough time to prepare for its killer stretch starting next week.
“The big test now is the last four teams we will be facing,” explained Guiao, whose team shares third spot with Barangay Ginebra at 5-2.
Rain or Shine’s tough four-game schedule begins next Tuesday when it faces NLEX, reigning Philippine Cup champion Purefoods Star on November 30, leader Alaska on December 5 and Barangay Ginebra on December 7.
“But we hope to pick up this coming week. Of course, there were good signs for the team, pero again, ang malaking problema namin is tatlo na lang ang malaki namin,” he added.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor said he is not making any excuses at all.
“Kasama iyan (injuries), pero we don’t make that as an excuse,” said Guiao.
Guiao said despite the three-game winning run, he believes the Elasto Painters have to improve some more in the rebounding department and free throw shooting.
“Of course, you have to give credit to the boys because it’s (winning three straight) a positive sign, but I believe may ilalabas pa ang team,” he said.
“Kasi may departments na masama pa kami gaya ng sa rebounding, saka ang free throws namin di rin nakakatuwa, basic things that we are not too happy about,” added the 55-year-old Guiao.