Defiant Yeng Guiao insists Rain or Shine can still turn semis series vs SMB around
“The longer the series goes, I’ve always believed that we should have the advantage,” says Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. Jerome Ascano

RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao remained defiant as the Elasto Painters aim to extend their the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against San Miguel Beer in Game Six on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters moved on the brink of elimination after absorbing a 103-94 setback against the Beermen in Game Five. But Guiao is confident the E-Painters can drag the series to a deciding game owing to how the games have panned out.

“We’re still very positive,” Guiao said. “We still feel that we can take this series – not just next game. All we need is to gain momentum. It’s a toss of a coin if it goes to a Game Seven.”

If the best-of-seven affair does go the full route, it’s better for the Painters, Guiao reiterated.

“The longer the series goes, I’ve always believed that we should have the advantage,” the veteran mentor said. “They (SMB) have more players playing longer minutes. Kung ma-push pa namin ng Game Seven ‘to, maybe that’s where we put everything on the table and see who has more gas in their tanks."

The Painters, however, have to pick their poison on defense wisely – whether focusing most of their efforts on June Mar Fajardo down low or leaving him with single coverage to cover the Beermen’s shooters.

“If we double team (Fajardo), somebody else gets open and if that guy makes that three-point shot, then (it’s harder for us),” Guiao said. “We cannot leave June Mar one-on-one with our bigs also.”

“It’s like choosing your poison,” he added. “It’s a defensive problem for us.”

The Beermen, usually thriving on a deliberate half-court setup, also gave the Painters a dose of their own medicine on Wednesday, outrunning ROS for a 16-2 edge on fastbreak points. The Painters also dished out just 14 assists and committed 22 turnovers.

“For us, Friday is going to be a big game,” Guiao said. “We have to recover our running game. We have to recover our defense. We have to keep the ball moving.”

And hopefully, the Painters can keep it close and eventually gain some momentum down the stretch.

“If they get an eight or ten-point lead, they get their confidence and some momentum and then we lose ours especially we don’t get breaks from the refs,” Guiao said. “Again, we’re still struggling with what a foul is and what a foul is not. Wala tayong magagawa, 'yun 'yung rules ngayon.”

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