RAIN or Shine is taking its time for the injuries to its players to completely heal before it sees action in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After Paul Lee aggravated his knee injury following a seemingly premature return in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup, the Elasto Painters are letting their star guard, as well as the rest of their players in the injured list, fully recuperate from their injures this time.
And that could disrupt their chemistry once again.
But E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao doesn’t mind as his team returned to training for the midseason tournament later than expected.
“We preferred to use the time to rest the guys rather than start the practice early,” Guiao said on Tuesday on the eve of the opening day of the import-laiden conference. “(But) factor yun na we might need a little bit more time to jell together.”
The Painters open their campaign on Saturday against Star.
Lee is expected to be out for at least two more weeks, while Jeff Chan could miss the first two games due to an elbow injury. Raymond Almazan is still recovering from the sprained ankle he suffered in the Final Four of the all-Filipino conference.
“There are setbacks,” Guiao said. “We're hoping (Paul) could play by March. Jeff will not be ready by Saturday, so hopefully, by Wednesday or the game after. Ayaw lang namin pwersahin. We're giving him time to heal.”
“Raymond is not one-hundred percent, but he's getting there,” Guiao added. “His sprain has healed, but he's not in the best shape yet.”
As usual, Guiao is expecting the rest of his team, led by Jericho Cruz, to fill the void.
“We already told them to be ready for the minutes Paul will not be able to play, same with Jeff who might miss one or two games,” Guiao said. “Josan (Nimes) and Jeric (Teng) will be ready. Maverick (Ahanmisi) is ready. We've used him plenty of times in the playoffs.”
Gabe Norwood is slated to return on Wednesday from California where he watched brother Jordan and the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
“I think he's really happy for his brother and he's aching to get back to playing also,” Guiao said. “He'll make it by Saturday.”