RAIN or Shine is sticking to what turned out to be an unexpected, yet successful trial in Game One as it guns to double its lead against Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With the locals failing to find an answer against Rob Dozier, Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao decided to put import Pierre Henderson-Niles on his college teammate in the fourth quarter of the opener.
“I experimented playing P on him,” Guiao admitted. “Ang inaalala ko baka mabilis si Dozier. He might beat him off the dribble, but I thought because he’s familiar with Dozier, he’s able to anticipate that move.”
One can question the quickness of the burly Henderson-Niles, but Guiao earlier said the 6-foot-8 reinforcement was deceivingly quick for his size and he proved it with a solid defensive effort on Dozier, who tallied nine points in the final frame after firing 32 points in the first three quarters.
Despite Dozier ending up with a career-high 41 points, the E-Painters prevailed, 105-97.
“So I feel pretty confident that Pierre is quick enough to stay with him,” Guiao said.
“But that’s usually going to happen in the fourth quarter,” he added. “We still need our locals to defend him and I’m hoping he doesn’t shoot that well in Game Two.”
Tipoff is at 5 p.m. with the E-Painters, behind the potent backcourt of Paul Lee and Jericho Cruz, bracing for a fightback by the Aces, who also expect rejuvenated performances from Calvin Abueva and RJ Jazul, among others.
“Alaska will be back and they’re going to be a lot tougher in Game Two,” Guiao said. “It’s going to be a lot closer the next time.”
“But I hope I’m wrong – in our favor,” he was quick to add with a smile.