COACH Yeng Guiao has always believed that for Rain or Shine to win the title in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, it needs to get past the team considered as the best so far in the tournament – Talk `N Text.
And whether the Elasto Painters are in the same league as the unbeaten Tropang Texters will be known starting on Monday when the two tangle in the opener of their best-of-five semifinals series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters have gone 10-0 this conference heading into the 8 p.m. match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, offering an acid test for a Rain or Shine team that has six of its last eight games.
“We look at that as a challenge. If you want to be the best, you need to beat the best,” said Guiao on the eve of the match.
The Elasto Painters survived the Meralco Bolts in a sudden-death game that went into overtime, 97-96, on Saturday to earn a shot against the Tropang Texters.
“We have one day to prepare for this (semifinal) series against the No. 1 team in the league,” said Guiao, who is coming fresh from being slapped with a P100,000 fine for his post-game derogatory remark against Meralco forward Cliff Hodge.
But with import Wayne Chism now showing what he can do on both ends of floor, Guiao hopes the Elasto Painters can sustain their intensity against their undefeated opponent.
The Elasto Painters needed to come back from a 0-1 series deficit against the Bolts in the quarterfinals to reach this far.
And Chism has been a revelation in the best-of-three, averaging 30 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks as he matched up well against NBA veteran and Meralco import Darnell Jackson.
“Again, we got to the semis in a different way this conference, but the important thing is getting to the semis and being consistent,” stressed Guiao.
Meantime, Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black expects nothing less than an intense series against the Elasto Painters, a team the Tropang Texters narrowly beat during their lone elimination round encounter, 87-84.
“We expect a very intense semifinal series against Rain or Shine. But the important thing is we match or surpass their energy and aggressiveness,” said Black.
The multi-titled coach said his emphasis for the series continues to be on defense, especially in trying to contain Chism from getting baskets inside and Paul Lee from hitting his stride from the outside.
“Chism played very well in their quarterfinal series while Paul Lee has been their best player,” Black noted.
“From our end, we just want to continue to play at a high level especially on the defensive end. We feel we can score with any team, but the key will be our ability to defend.”