REGGIE Johnson got his wish to meet the “Lakers of the PBA” up-close with Rain or Shine taking on Ginebra in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals and after Game 1, it’s just exactly what he envisioned.
“I love playing against big crowds. That’s the most fans I’ve seen in one game personally since I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s exciting and it brings out the best in you. I’m looking forward to the series.”
However, playing the villain role against the throng of Gin King fans trooping to the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday didn’t end up to Johnson’s liking as the Elasto Painters suffered a 102-89 defeat to go 0-1 in the best-of-five series.
The burly reinforcement did his share for Rain or Shine, finishing with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists as he led the squad in fighting back from an early 18-point deficit, 37-19, to get to within four, 69-65, late in the third quarter.
Johnson’s efforts, though, proved to be moot in the payoff period as he was limited to just two points in the fourth canto where Ginebra went on a 26-point onslaught to seal the game for good.
Though his side came up short, Johnson remains confident that Rain or Shine has all the tools to rebound from this 13-point rout.
“It’s Game One. We’ll make some adjustments. I know you guys wanna make big deal about it, but we’re calm and we’re still confident in our locker room,” he said.
“We got a lot of things that I know and I see on the court that we can fix to be more successful. We spoke inside the locker room about a lot of things which were very uncharacteristic of us. You know, they’re guarding me a certain way and I know I can make them pay and we’ll work on that on practice.”
Game Two is on Tuesday, still at the Big Dome.