RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao acknowledged his team is still recovering from an emotionally draining PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which saw the Elasto Painters lost the title series,4-2, to champion San Mig Super Coffee.
But the outspoken mentor said the Elasto Painters are not one who live in the past as they seek to get a fresh start in the Commissioner’s Cup Sunday when the team debuts against a dangerous Barako Bull side at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 3 p.m., marking the first time Rain or Shine will be playing since being penalized a league record fine of P2 million for the partial walkout it did in Game Six of the title series against the Mixers.
Import Alex Mclean, who has been with the team for close to a month now, will have his baptism of fire against Barako Bull counterpart Joshua Dollard, who was impressive in his first game after dropping 45 points in a 104-108 losing stand in overtime against Barangay Ginebra on Friday.
“Alex already saw us play in the (Philippine Cup) Finals. He has been practicing with us so alam na niya ang philosophy and system. Saka kilala na niya ang mga players,” Guiao said after the team’s Saturday morning practice.
Little is known of Mclean except that the incoming American reinforcement was recommended by the Elasto Painters’ former import Arizona Reid.
The 6-foot-8 Mclean played for the Liberty University Flames during the 2007 and 2008 college seasons, posting averages of 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assist during his two-year, 63-game stint.
“He’s not gonna score 40 points for our team but if he can score around 20 to 25 points and grab 15 rebounds, that will be enough for us to get by,” added Guiao, who was also fined P50,000 for committing a technical foul – his 13th for the season - in Game Six of the Finals.
The Rain or Shine coach said he’s not making any wholesale changes to his system, choosing to keep using his full roster to ensure everyone will get equal opportunity to contribute to the team this conference.
Meantime, Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos said using rookies Carlo Lastimosa and Jeric Fortuna for a long stretch in the crucial portion of the game against Ginebra was part of his strategy to fast track the growth of the team in the pro league.
Lastimosa took the last shot in regulation play when he drove hard the lane against a phalanx of Ginebra defenders before missing the shot that paved the way for the overtime period.
Chris Ellis, who forced overtime with a timely three-point shot in regulation, nailed another three-pointer in the extra session to help Ginebra preserve the win.
Still, Ramos said the Energy will try to bounce back against Rain or Shine and make the necessary adjustment in the shortened nine-game elimination round format