AFTER losing his voice, Yeng Guiao had to rely on hand signals as Rain or Shine walked through its final plays prior to Game Five of its Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against reigning champion San Miguel.
Even then, Guiao still likes what he saw.
Despite being blown away the last time, 105-92, the outspoken coach said the Elasto Painters remain upbeat about their chances against the Beermen going to the 7 p.m. encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“The morale is high despite the loss. The team is confident we can beat San Miguel in this series despite the adversities,” said Guiao, a day after being fined P35,000 for criticizing the officiating moments following the Game Four loss that tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
Rain or Shine will still be without lanky big man Raymond Almazan, out for the series with a sprained ankle, although injured guard Jericho Cruz is again a gametime decision for the team.
“Jericho is gametime decision. The therapist will evaluate him before the game, although he did some light shooting in practice,” said Guiao.
San Miguel counterpart Leo Austria said the absence of two key players for the Elasto Painters is certainly a big break for his team.
“Malaking bagay yun (absence of Almazan and Cruz), kasi kung makikita natin, 'yung rotation nila is too short at hindi sanay ang mga players ng mahabang playing time,” said the champion coach.
But Guiao believes even without the two, the Elasto Painters have a shot at beating June Mar Fajardo and Co. the last time if not for the hot shooting of San Miguel’s gunners early on.
“They hit the early threes on us, and if they’re hitting the three-point shot and then they have an inside threat, it’s really very difficult to handle them,” said Guiao.
Adjustments though, have already been made in practice, according to Guiao, who hinted he’ll call the shots for Rain or Shine using hand signals.
Not unless of course, he regains his voice before game time.