RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao believes Barangay Ginebra still has the edge in its quarterfinal match-up against Alaska, but warned that the once-struggling Aces have turned into a very dangerous foe.
Guiao spoke a day after Ginebra dropped a 97-104 loss to the Aces - a letdown the twice-to-beat Kings can afford, he said, owing to the fine performances they had in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
“Tingin ko lamang pa rin dyan ang Ginebra. May advantage pa rin sila,” said Guiao. “Iyan ang kagandahan ng naging effort ng Ginebra noong eliminations."
But Ginebra can't afford another mistake, he said.
"May chance silang magkamali minsan … Yun nga lang, hindi sila pwedeng magkamali ng dalawang beses dyan,” added the multi-titled coach. "Masyadong dangerous team ang Alaska."
Guiao also said the Aces have been peaking at the right time, as seen from the Luigi Trillo-mentored squad's three big victories, all in do-or-die games.
Alaska has become so good it seemed only a distant cousin of the Aces team that struggled in the elims, Guiao said.
“Ang Alaska galing sa tatlong do-or-die game 'yan. Kita mo naman yung ipinapakitang laro nila ngayon. Hindi mo pwedeng i-compare yung Alaska nung eliminations. Ibang iba na!” said Guioa.
“I really don’t discount an Alaska upset in that series!”
Guiao can only imagine the pressure that Ginebra players must be feeling now, considering that all eyes are on them after they finished the eliminations with an impressive 11-3 record.
“Dapat hindi sila ma-pressure dyan. Accept nila na talo sila. Tapos they should make the necessary adjustments. Yun nga ang sinasabing kong luxury nila with the twice-to-beat incentive,” he said.
The Rain or Shine mentor, however, said Alaska was overcome the fatigue factor if it hopes to become just the fourth No. 8 seed to advance to the semifinals.
“Galing sila sa tatlong do-or-die games. Medyo pagod na ang katawan nyan,” said Guiao.
Since last year's Commissioner’s Cup Finals, Alaska is already 4-0 against Ginebra in the playoffs. But Alaska star guard Cyrus Baguio said they are facing an entirely different Ginebra team now.
“Mas malakas ang Ginebra ngayon kaysa noong na-sweep namin sila sa finals. Halos lahat ng pwesto may pwersa sila. Nagkataon lang mas naging matatag kami kagabi,” said Baguio.
“Kami naman, lalaro lang at ipapakita na handa kaming lumaban. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na.”