ONE can feel the anguish in Paul Lee’s face the moment he emerged from Rain or Shine’s dugout at the Mall of Asia Arena following yet another loss in the PBA Governors Cup on Saturday night.
Can’t blame him, really, especially someone not used to losing as many games in a single conference as what the Elasto Painters are enduring right now.
The toast of the league just four months ago when it sneaked its way to the Commissioner’s Cup championship, Rain or Shine has suddenly found itself in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in four years after going down against San Miguel, 82-75.
It was the fifth loss in the last six outings for the proud franchise, which fell to a 4-6 (win-loss) card and just outside the Top Eight that would qualify outright to the quarterfinals.
Lee is aware of where the team exactly stands right now and knows the Elasto Painters are in for a tough ride.
“Medyo mabigat,” he admitted. “Pero stay positive pa rin kami.”
Against San Miguel, Lee didn’t exactly had the type of numbers he had when he ran away with the Finals MVP award during the Commissioner’s Cup title series, finishing with just two points on 1 of 5 shooting, to go with three rebounds, and three assists in 20 minutes of play.
The figures were so unlike of ‘Leethal Weapon’ that coach Yeng Guiao believes the outcome could have been different had he and Jeff Chan been more assertive during the game. Chan was held scoreless behind a 0 for 3 stint on the field.
“We missed those two guys (Lee and Chan). We’re not looking for them to score twenty points, but if they had just made six or eight points, which is normal for them, we could’ve had a different result,” said Guiao.
Rain or Shine still has a game left in the eliminations against ousted Star on Wednesday. It’s a must-win for the team to keep its hopes of making the playoffs, but then again the Elasto Painters’s chance also hinges on the results of the other teams’ remaining games.
It’s not going to be easy, according to Lee who nonetheless called on the embattled Elasto Painters to stay as one.
“Kailangan lang namin magsama-sama. Kung magkakasama kami sa itaas, magkakasami din kami sa ibaba,” said Lee.
“Down kami ngayon, pero walang rason para magsisihan,” he added. “Ito namang Rain or Shine kilala bilang one team. Kailangan lang sama-sama kami, ano man ang mangyari.”