COACH Yeng Guiao wants Rain or Shine to fire away from the get-go and dictate the tempo when the Elasto Painters collide with the Meralco Bolts in Game One of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal series on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters, who entered the playoffs as the top seeds, squeaked past the no. 8-ranked Barangay Ginebra Kings to advance to their eighth semifinal appearance in the last nine conferences.
On the other hand, the Bolts swept sister team NLEX Road Warriors in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Guiao said the team’s chemistry and familiarity are advantages they hope to bank on in the playoffs beginning in the 7 p.m. game against the fifth-seeded Bolts.
“Our only advantage against Meralco is that we’re more experienced in being in the semis and being together for a long time, nothing else. We’re not more talented than they are,” said Guiao.
“The only area we have an advantage is we have the experience because we’re more familiar with the playoffs.”
The outspoken Rain or Shine mentor they have moved on from the elimination-round setback to Meralco and now focused on their championship drive in the mid-season conference.
“There’s a lot more at stake in the playoffs, so we just have to be cognizant of that and play with a different attitude," explained the 56-year-old Guiao, whose team averages 10 three-pointers made per game this conference.
He added that everybody on his team should play with a greater sense of urgency, knowing that the series is a race-to-three-wins only.
“Kung sa best-of-seven (series), napaka-importante ng Game One, mas lalo na sa best-of-five, because it gives you more confidence, then put the burden of adjustment on the losing team,” he added.
For Meralco coach Norman Black, he expects no less than an intense battle, owing to Rain or Shine’s ability to shoot from long range, rugged play and transition game.
“It will be an intense battle with Rain or Shine. We will have to recover very quickly from our overtime game against NLEX. Major concerns are getting back on defense and slowing down their fastbreak,” said Black.