RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao on Wednesday witnessed first-hand once again the strength of the Bay Area Dragons in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals as part of the television panel covering Game Six.
And being up close again reasserted his belief that Barangay Ginebra is the only ballclub which can match up toe-to-toe with the foreign guest team.
“Ginebra lang ang tingin kong may match-up (against Bay Area),” said Guiao during the SPIN POV special episode on Thursday. “Kasi may mga malalaki sila. May mga wingmen sila. Lumaki sila sa wings nung nandiyan na si Jamie Malonzo tapos nadagdagan pa ni Jeremiah Gray. Lumakas sila sa wings.”
Guiao fell victim to the Dragons not once but twice.
The first encounter in the eliminations saw Powell lit up for 50 points in their 120-87 win last November 11. The Elasto Painters were then ousted from the playoffs after a 126-96 defeat to the Dragons that saw Hayden Blankley score 47 points and Andrew Nicholson finish with 32 points last December 9.
Guiao said Bay Area’s sheer size gives it a crucial advantage over other PBA teams, except for Ginebra.
“Ang problema mo, kapag kalaban mo ‘yung size, ang laki nila in all positions sa lahat ng PBA teams. Ang palagay ko, ang makakasabay lang sa kanila is Ginebra,” said Guiao.
Ginebra though was forced to play a Game Seven in this championship series after Bay Area stole a, 87-84 last Wednesday night behind the exploits of Myles Powell.
Guiao said he feels there is pressure on the side of Ginebra in the do-or-die game at the Philippine Arena. But the seven-time PBA champion coach also thinks the home crowd will be a huge factor in Game Seven.
“Siyempre, medyo under pressure ka. Nararamdaman mo ‘yung pressure. Ang daming gusto kasi na talunin ‘yung foreign team. Parang gigil na gigil tayo na talunin ‘yung Bay Area. At the same time, mataas ang expectation sa kanila,” said Guiao.
“Ang nakakatakot diyan, gagawin sa Philippine Arena -50,000 ata ang maximum capacity nun. Kahapon, 22,000, rinding rindi na ‘yung Bay Area Dragons kapag nasisigawan, nagchi-cheer. Paano pa kung 50,000 ang nagchi-cheer sa Ginebra.
"Tingin ko sa Bay Area, hindi sila sanay sa ganun. Kahit napakalakas na team, ‘yung environment, ‘yung conditions, hindi pa rin talaga mailalabas ‘yung dating nilalaro nila na relax at tinatambakan nila ‘yung mga PBA teams.
"Ngayon, iba na ‘yung conditions. Now, they have to feel what the other PBA teams are feeling kapag kasama na ‘yung crowd sa laro. Tapos meron pang intimidation factor. Puwede mo rin ma-intimidate pati referees sa ganyan. Magsasama sama ‘yan. Advantage ng Ginebra ‘yan.
“Disadvantage ng Ginebra, ‘yung si Myles Powell, baka lalo pang makundisyon at gumaling," he added of the prolific Bay Area import. "Sa kanya, normal ang 30, 40 points. Paghahandaan ‘yan sa depensa ni coach Tim."