COACH Yeng Guiao serves his one-game suspension on Friday, but remains confident even in his absence Rain or Shine can close out its PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against Petron when Game 5 is played at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series entering the 8 p.m. match, thanks to their 88-83 win in Game Four behind Beau Belga’s endgame heroics, while bucking the absence of Guiao, who was ejected out of the game after incurring a second technical foul.
And without their fiery coach, who was slapped with a one-game suspension and a P100,000 fine for “persistent conduct unbecoming of a coach”, the Elasto Painters are all the more motivated to play and finish off the Boosters,
“Wala namang major steps or major movement na kailangang gawin. We just prepared the way we prepare,” Guiao said, who still presided over the team’s practice on Thursday at the North East Greenhills gym in San Juan.
Former Rookie of the Year Paul Lee is expected to play despite spraining his ankle in the first half of Game Four, while forward Jervy Cruz, who broke his nose bridge after getting a hard foul from Alex Cabagnot late in Game 4 Monday night, will be wearing a protective face mask during the match.
Despite the obstacle the team is facing, Guiao said he has full confidence his top assistant Caloy Garcia can handle the coaching pressure since the team’s system is already in place.
“Coach Caloy knows our philosophy, while the guys (Elasto Painters) are prepared. All they need to do is execute the game plan,” he added.
The outspoken Rain or Shine coach is also convinced the Elasto Painters will use his absence as a rallying factor to finish off the series and book a berth in the best-of-seven Finals.
“I think the players will take this (Guiao’s absence) as a challenege and be a motivational factor. They have won without me the last time around and they showed character, which remains,” he said.
“So whether I am there or not, they just have to rely on that.”
Meanwhile, Petron counterpart Gee Abanilla said he’s convinced the Boosters are not totally out of the woods as they try to make a series out of their situation.
“Morale is still okay. Although we are down, 1-3, we are still not out,” said Abanilla.
“We are just focusing on things that we can control and are not blaming anyone for our predicament.”
The soft-spoken Petron coach also mentioned that despite two sorry losses in both Game Two and Game Four, the team believes the series isn’t over as long as the Boosters play according to their game plan.
“That’s the essence of sports. You still have a chance to pick yourself up and fight another day. They (Elasto Painters) may have won the battle so far, but the war is not yet over,” he said.