RAIN or Shine has been playing like a roller-coaster in its past two games in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup that coach Yeng Guiao is starting to get alarmed with the form of his team.
After a stunning loss to NLEX that denied them an outright semifinals berth, the Elasto Painters were lackluster against lower-ranked Blackwater in the first round of the playoffs and barely got by, 95-90.
And so against TNT on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena, Guiao said the team needs an extra effort on both ends if the Elasto Painters are to stay alive and advance to the semifinals.
“We’re hoping we can prepare a little harder the next game, and maybe had some serious talk with the guys,” said the Rain or Shine coach.
“I told them if you wanna make the semis, we have to play better than we played (against Blackwater).”
Game time is at 7 p.m., with the winner of the final knockout match in the quarterfinals arranging a best-of-seven semifinal showdown against defending champion San Miguel.
The Tropang Texters were pushed to the limit by NLEX before prevailing in their playoffs match up, 90-88, setting the stage for an exciting clash with the Elasto Painters, who they beat in their first meeting this conference, 95-85.
“Naunahan namin sila nung eliminations, sigurado babawi sila,” said rookie Troy Rosario, who picked up the cudgels for the Tropang Texters in their win over the Road Warriors with 20 points.
Like Guiao, TNT counterpart Jong Uichico said the Tropang Texters also need to play better to make the semis.
“We’ve got to play better as a team. We have one day to prepare and get back to the drawing boards,” said Uichico in his post-game interview.
The TNT coach expects rookie Mo Tautuaa to suit up against Rain or Shine the same way he did in his limited playing time against NLEX, although the 6-foot-7 center is still bothered by back spasm.
“Yes, he will play. But I guess, the more he can rest, the better siguro. So hopefully, we make the semis for him to have a rest,” said Uichico.
The semifinals start on January 4.