A REVITALIZED Rain or Shine squad tries to stretch its winning streak and strengthen its Top Four bid in the PBA Governors Cup as it takes on Meralco in a crucial Tuesday match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters have won their last three outings by an average margin of 19 points, a huge turnaround that put them in a better position to finish among the top four teams with exactly one week left in the single-round elimination.
A quick look at the statistics revealed Rain or Shine forced its last three opponents to an average of 22 turnovers.
Coach Yeng Guiao says the team has adopted one simple formula this conference: force turnovers and then run.
“The fastbreak is our natural game because I told them, if we force turnovers, then we can run, so that’s the real source of our points in transition,” Guiao explained as his team shoots for a fifth win in its 5:45 p.m. encounter against Meralco (2-5).
In the team’s last three victories, Rain or Shine averaged 23.6 points on fastbreak and an additional 24.3 points off opponent’s turnovers, giving Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio every reason to be worried.
“Our defense will be put to an acid test,” said Gregorio.
“They (Elasto Painters) averaged over 120 points the past two games against quality teams like Alaska and Ginebra. Their rhythm must be destroyed. They are playing at a very high level on both ends of the floor.”
The Bolts are currently tied for eighth to ninth spots with Barako Bull, thanks to their morale-boosting 90-74 upset of San Miguel Beer in Cagayan de Oro City last weekend.
Import Mario West was super against the Beermen after pumping in 42 points before a jampacked crowd at the Xavier gymnasium.
“Same goal, to keep our boat afloat. We dodged a bullet against the mighty San Miguel Beermen. We played with focus and determination, knowing the game’s strong implications on our fate. So the same ingredients are necessary against the red-hot Rain or Shine team,” added Gregorio.