RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is using every motivation the team can get in a bid to end a three-year PBA title drought.
The Elasto Painters clinched the top spot and the twice-to-beat advantage that comes with it after a 119-99 victory over KIA on Sunday in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The last time the franchise finished atop the standings after the eliminations came in the 2012 Governors’ Cup where it went all the way to the championship – the team’s first and only in the league – behind enigmatic import Jamelle Cornley.
“If it’s a good sign for us, we’ll take motivation from that,” Guiao said. “That’s going to give us encouragement going into our preparations.”
“But it’s so hard to tell. Everything is still up in the air,” he added.
Since capturing the 2012 Governors’ Cup crown, the Elasto Painters have contended in three more finals, but fell short each time.
“Sabi ko naramdaman na namin yung sakit - tatlong beses na. Gusto naman namin yung sarap,” said big man Beau Belga.
But one-half of the Extra Rice Inc. is bracing for a tough quarterfinal series whoever the team faces as the eight and last seeded squad. Still in contention for the last two remaining playoff berths are Alaska, Barako Bull, Globalport, Kia, and San Miguel Beer.
“Kinakabahan ako in a sense na hindi madali ang kalaban sa ilalim,” Belga said. “Kahit na sabihin mong number eight spot, sa PBA ngayon, wala ng mahina.”
“It’s not going to be an easy playoffs for everyone na makakapasok,” he added.
Guiao hopes the team can at least match its finish in the same tournament last year when import Wayne Chism led an injury-plagued Rain or Shine side to the semifinals.
“It should be better for us now because we’re healthy,” the multi-titled mentor said.