RAIN or Shine tries again to end its semifinals series with San Mig Coffee on Thursday when Game Six of the PBA Philippine Cup is played at the Mall of Asian Arena.
The Elasto Painters’ march to their first-ever all-Filipino Finals appearance was derailed by the Mixers following a 79-67 win in Game Five last December 29, cutting their series lead to 3-2.
But coach Yeng Guiao has already emphasized to his players the need to bring their “killer approach” to Game six so as not to give the Mixers any kind of momentum in the best-of-seven affair.
“Conditioning naman di problema, pero mentally, I’ve been emphasizing to the players the sense of urgency (to finish the series). Though we have three chances to finish it and make it to the Finals, pero we’ve already used up one nung matalo nga kami (in Game Five). And that means we’ll try to use the remaining two chances,” Guiao told Spin.ph after the team’s practice on Wednesday.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor added they are preparing for the Mixers’ perimeter gunners, along with an approach to contain if not fully stop Marc Pingris, Joe Devance and even Rafi Reavis, from hurting them inside the paint.
Pingris and Devance asserted their might in the shaded lane during the Game Five win.
“We need to defend the inside. Though alam naman natin talent-wise, and speed, di naman gaanong kabilis ang mga bigs namin. But at least, we need to consider focusing on stopping the inside game and again, yung rebounding kasi nga undersized kami,” he added.
After outrebounding San Mig Coffee by an average of six in Games Three and Four, Rain or Shine found itself losing the battle off the boards the last time against an aggressive Mixers frontline, 53-49, including a 21-13 advantage at the offensive end.
Guiao said he remains confident his team will be fresh heading into Game Six since no one among his 12-man rotation averages more than 30 minutes per contest in the series.
“We had to do it (12-man rotation) kasi di naman kami kasing-talented ng San Mig. Sila naman kasi, they will live and die with their superstars,” he said.
On the other hand, San Mig coach Tim Cone said he feels his starters can handle the longer minutes.
“That’s the thing about basketball. Yeng Guiao plays it (roster) so well. He plays 10 to 12 guys on the floor. It’s kind of a different time system and those guys don’t complain about that. I really appreciate Yeng,” said Cone.
As for his own starters, Cone said: “They played heavy minutes (in Game Five) but they dug deep. They played some heavy, heavy minutes. These guys are in no vacation mode because they know it’s the playoffs.”
A victory will bring the Elasto Painters to the Finals for the second straight conference, counting the season-ending Governors Cup last season where they won the franchise’s first PBA title after beating B-Meg in seven games.