PETRON coach Gee Abanilla admitted the Boosters were caught off guard by Rain or Shine’s energy and transition game that led to a 95-103 loss in Game One of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We were just caught by surprise,” Abanilla said after his Boosters were utterly dominated by the Painters, who scored 35 fastbreak and 24 turnover points.
While the Painters were running and gunning, the Boosters also clearly lacked the energy to survive in this crucial stage of the season-opening conference.
“We got to have that mentality that this is the semifinals and we have to play in that kind of atmosphere. Definitely mentally we should be in that level.”
But that doesn’t mean the Boosters have to keep pace with the Painters in the running game.
“We have different styles,” said Abanilla, who insisted he will not abandon the half-court set that has done wonders for them.
Abanilla also rued the inconsistency of the referees’ calls, which, the coach felt, were called differently compared to the eliminations.
“Maybe the normal calls we get in the eliminations we couldn’t get now because siguro ibang level na to. Pinapayagan na ngayon. We just have to adjust and we have to adapt.”
That was why some calls and non-calls frustrated the Boosters.
“We were bothered offensively,” Abanilla said. “If we don’t get calls, we take bad shots that led to a lot turnover points and hustle points.”
Still, the Boosters mentor saw some positives in the defeat where they mounted on a late run that cut the lead to just five points.
“I saw glimpses that we are good, but we have to do that on a consistent basis,” said Abanilla, who gave special mention to seldom-used guards Paolo Hubalde and Jojo Duncil, who gave them a lift in some stretches.