RAIN or Shine tries to prevent Alaska from having any more sense of hope as the Elasto Painters seek to finish off the Aces in Game Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters are on the cusp of capturing their second league crown and they don’t want to wait any longer and give the Aces a shot at a rare but doable comeback from a three-game hole like they allowed San Miguel Beer to pull off in the Philippine Cup title series.
“That’s going to be what’s in our mind,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao admitted. “We don’t want to be in that position of losing a three-game lead. We’ll do everything we can to finish this on Friday.”
RoS enforcer Beau Belga shared his coach’s thoughts as they aim to put the banged-up Aces, who are missing two key injured players in Vic Manuel and JVee Casio, out of their misery already
“Hindi ko iniisip yun kasi ayaw ko mangyari sa akin,” Belga said ahead of the match that tips off at 7 p.m. “Ayaw ko masama sa history.”
The Elasto Painters’ three wins in the best-of-seven series have all been close, which has belied how they have been dominating their Aces with their up-tempo play and half-court precision proving too much for their opponents’ trademark defense.
“It’s just mental focus,” Guaio said. “It’s being able to execute our game plan. All through this series, we’ve been able to handle their press well. We have the materials to beat their press.”
“Consistent defense and keeping the game fast is going to be the key,” he added.
Belga, who has been a finisher in the E-Painters secondary break and a recipient of their guards’ kick-out passes, doesn’t want to extend the series any longer.
“Basta ako, sa sarili ko, Game Four, gusto ko na tapusin,” the outspoken big man said. “Bibigay ko na lahat kasi pag nanalo ng Friday, pahinga na sa Sabado hanggang sa kailan kami babalik ng practice.”
“Ang nasa isip ko, Friday na lang at wala ng ibang laro,” he added.
Known to make his own guarantees despite carrying even lesser leads, Guiao, however, declined to make one this time.
“That’s only going to put pressure on the guys, so I don’t want to guarantee it now,” he said. “I’ll guarantee it after Friday siguro.”