Playoff grind sharpened Rain or Shine game for SMB series, says Yeng Guiao
Yeng Guiao gave his Rain or Shine team a two-day break before plunging back to practice on Sunday for the semifinal series against San Miguel. Jaime Campos

THE quarterfinal playoffs against Blackwater and TNT were just the perfect warm up for Rain or Shine as it braces for a showdown against defending champion San Miguel in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

Playing two extra matches, including a do-or-die encounter with the Tropang Texters in the final playdate of the all-Filipino conference in 2015, served as the Elasto Painters' ideal preparation against a tough and talented team as the Beermen, Guiao said.

Since ousting TNT on Monday, 104-89, the team only took a two-day break from training as regular practice starts immediately by January 2.

“The whole day (New Year) they spent time with the family, and then go back to work again,” said Guiao of Rain or Shine’s Spartan training.

Game One of the team’s best-of-seven duel with the Beermen gets underway on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Elasto Painters could have gained an outright berth in the semis had they won their final game of the eliminations against NLEX, but they came crashing down as the Road Warriors rallied from 13 points down to prevail, 102-96.

The loss left Rain or Shine tumbling down to as low as the No. 3 seeding in the playoffs.

Looking back now, Guiao said the loss to NLEX was a ‘blessing in disguise.’

“You can’t get to the semifinals if you’re not ready and I think we have to go to the long route to get ourselves ready, para makapag-isip kami at makapag-handa,” he stressed. “I think we’re better prepared now than if we’ve gone the short route.”

The Rain or Shine mentor admitted the team struggled heading home in the eliminations, and even in the first round of the playoffs when it played just good enough to ease past Blackwater, 95-90.

The Elasto Painters also didn’t put the outcome of their knockout game against TNT until the final quarter.

Guiao wanted to see all of these in a positive manner.

“This is going to toughen us out going to the semifinals. That’s how we look at it, that’s our prospective,” he said.

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