RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao welcomes the return of burly big man Beau Belga as the Elasto Painters face a must-win situation in Game Four of the PBA Governors Cup semifinals against San Miguel Beer on Wednesday night.
Guiao admitted guarding San Miguel behemoth June Mar Fajardo will be less of a burden with Belga back in the active roster after missing the last two games of the best-of-five series due to a sprained nakle he sustained in Game One.
“Palagay ko naman pag nandyan si Beau, malaki pa rin problema namin, pero hindi na ganun ka-laki,” Guiao added with a smile.
The presence of the 6-foot-6 Belga is going to be a big boost as he adds to the bodies who can defend the 6-foot-11 Fajardo, who has been asserting his might down low against JR Quiñahan and Raymond Almazan.
“JR did his best, Raymond did his best, but they are just too small for June Mar and we have to collapse on them. And if we collapse on them, the three-point shot is always going to be open,” Guiao said. “Maybe if we have Beau, we don’t have to collapse on June Mar that much.”
That will also allow the other ROS defenders to focus on AZ Reid, Marcio Lassiter, and Alex Cabagnot, among others.
“They just have too many offensive weapons that if we mess up with our matchups, they can beat us with sheer talent,” Guiao said. “We just have to help each other out and be able to get Beau back into circulation and relieve some of that problem.”
Any which way, the Elasto Painters, according to Guiao, are making do with a ‘75 to 80 percent’ healthy Belga.
“Hopefully we were able to buy some time for Beau to get back into playing and maybe try to extend the series with a healthy big man,” said Guiao, who is also missing another big man in Jervy Cruz after the former University of Santo Tomas stalwart broke his toe following a freak accident at home.
Supposedly out for the series after the severe ankle sprain he suffered in the series opener, Belga declared himself fit to play in Game Four as Rain or Shine’s season hangs in the balance after trailing San Miguel in the series, 2-1, following its 114-108 loss the last time.
The former PCU stalwart though, was still limping after Monday’s Game Three.
Rain or Shine assistant coach Mike Buendia said Belga tried to practice on Tuesday, and will have to get a go-signal from their physical therapist for the ROS big man to play to help the squad force a deciding game on Friday.
“Check pa ng PT namin pag dating niya sa Araneta later,” Buendia told Spin.ph on Wednesday ahead of the match that tips off at 7 p.m.