RAIN or Shine and Alaska collide in Friday’s main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with new imports in tow in the hope of changing their respective fortunes in the mid-season tournament.
The Elasto Painters parade returnee Wayne Chism in the 7 p.m. encounter as he takes over the one dimensional Rick Jackson, who suited up for the team one last time in its grind-out 78-71 win over defending champion Purefoods in Dipolog City last week.
Although 20 pounds lighter since his stint with Rain or Shine last year, coach Yeng Guiao said the 6-foot-8 Chism’s ability to run the floor well and his familiarity with the team’s system are advantages they intend to maximize against the Aces, who will be with new import Damion James.
“We won our game against a tough team (Purefoods), though the good thing about Chism, he complements our natural game, di kamukha kay Jackson na kailangan mo pa hintayin sa poste,” said Guiao, whose team is in the middle of the standings with a 3-2 record.
“With Chism he can run, and it’s something I like about our big men because they can post up and they can step out, something that’s not present with the skill set of Rick Jackson.”
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor also wants his team to pounce on Alaska’s current struggle, which has the team yet to play with a complete, healthy roster owing to the injuries of key players Sonny Thoss (plantar fascia) and JV Casio (wrist).
“We’re looking to at least get back to the semis just like we did last year in this conference,” he said.
“Some of the stronger teams like Alaska, are struggling, so this is a nice time to pile up some wins because those teams will eventually win games.”
For Alaska, coach Alex Compton hopes the entry of James, a member of the 2014 NBA champion team San Antonio Spurs, could give the team solid rebounding and energy as the Aces continue to play through with a battered roster.
“Damion is a good pick-up. He’s a smart player and a really good team player,” Compton said in describing the 27-year-old James, who is coming in to replace DJ Covington.
The Aces currently carry an even 2-2 record after coming off a 107-100 win over Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer in the first meeting between the protagonists of the recent All-Filipino Cup finals.