YENG Guiao has seen Petron struggle with one loss after another, and witnessed how Olsen Racela's players have fallen one by one like dominoes due to injuries.
Still, Guiao believes it's only a matter of time before the 'real' Petron shows up.
"Petron’s win-loss record does not really indicate yung lakas nila (Boosters)," said the Rain or Shine coach at the end of the Painters' practice on Tuesday. And the team's woeful win-loss record, he added, "doesn’t change the fact that they are still the strongest team, at least on paper.”
That's the mind set Guiao will be taking to the Painters' PBA Philippine Cup game on Wednesday against Petron, the same team Guiao's team beat, 102-86, the first time they met this season.
While the Painters have won six of their first eight games to move within half a game of league-leader Talk 'N Text, the Boosters are 3-5 and winless in their last three games while losing rookie slotman June Mar Fajardo, Danny Ildefonso, Dorian Pena, Marcio Lassiter, and even coaching consultant Rajko Toroman along the way.
So undermanned are the Boosters that Ildefonso, who has dislocated his shoulder, has put off surgery and is expected to see action against Rain or Shine.
Still, Guiao isn't taking Petron lightly, saying he expects rookie coach Racela and his Boosters to emerge from the struggle a whole lot better.
“I’m not gonna look back at that situation (first-round win) anymore because things were different back then,” Guiao told Spin.ph.
“We expect na magi-iba ang laro ng Petron. I think they are learning painful lessons with those defeats. But it’s just a matter of time before they get a breakout game. In fact, even Olsen’s coaching is being fast-tracked by these losses,” Guiao added.
Meanwhile, Alaska looks to arrest its two-game skid when it plays in-form Air21 in the 5:15 p.m. first game.
After winning five straight games, the Aces have suddenly lost two straight against the Elasto Painters (95-101) and the San Mig Coffee Mixers (68-77) last Saturday in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
Air21 on the other hand, has found renewed energy following back-to-back victories against Petron and Barako Bull, behind newly acquired playmaker Mike Cortez, who registered 24 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals against the Energy Cola.