A CONFIDENT Rain or Shine squad looks to deal the death blow to Meralco when they collide in Game Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters opened the series with a 99-86 win, followed by a 92-82 decision in Game Two to move them closer to a third Finals stint in the last five conferences.
But coach Yeng Guiao is expecting the Bolts to pour everything they’ve got to extend the series in their 7 p.m. encounter.
“Sabi ko sa kanila (Elasto Painters), the last win is always the hardest one,” said Guiao, whose team recovered from a 14-point deficit behind his team’s league season-high 19 three-point conversions to take Game Two.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor though, isn’t expecting his team to shoot the same way from the three-point arc.
“Kahit na masarap isipin, pero it’s highly unlikely that we can shoot beyond 50 percent from three-point line, but if it is open again, we will take it,” he added.
Guiao believes the key to finishing off Meralco is the team’s ability to control the boards as well as limiting its turnovers.
The shorter Rain or Shine squad won the battle of the boards in Game Two, 53-47.
But the Elasto Painters turned the ball over 20 times, which was fortunately negated by their hot-shooting from beyond the arc.
“We turned the ball over too many times in Game Two to negate our advantage in rebounding, so the battle cry now is rebound as good as we did from the last game,” he said.
“At the same time, we need to be able to take care of the ball.”
For Meralco coach Norman Black, the series is not over until Rain or Shine chalks up three wins.
“Obviously we have to play much better if we want to win one game in this series. But at the same time they only have two wins. We still have a chance,” said a defiant Black.
But the multi-titled PBA mentor also understands that for the Bolts to stand a chance against the rampaging Elasto Painters, they will also have to get solid contributions from veterans like Sean Anthony, John Wilson and Mike Cortez.
“My local players have to shoot well. We have to rise up and make the shots,” stressed Black, whose team relies a lot on offense from two-time PBA scoring champion Gary David.