COACHES Yeng Guiao and Jong Uichico agreed that past records won’t mean anything when Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text clash one last time on Wednesday for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Playing with its back against the wall, Rain or Shine drew the much-needed inspiration from injured veteran gunner Jeff Chan, who delivered 11 points in 11 minutes off the bench to help the Elasto Painters force the winner-take-all Game Seven last Sunday.
Rain or Shine whipped Talk ‘N Text, 101-93 in Game Six.
Guiao enters the no-tomorrow match on Wednesday carrying a 2-0 record in Finals Game Sevens.
His Talk ‘N Text counterpart has a 1-2 record in the deciding game in a best-of-seven championship series.
But the fiery Rain or Shine coach calls that record as a mere “distraction” at this point.
“That (2-0 record in a Game Seven) is a distraction. If you start thinking about the color you will wear, your lucky day, lucky number or unlucky number, well, I’ve been coaching too long now, and for a while, you can fall into that psychological trap and it kinda takes away your freedom,” said Guiao, on the eve of the finale.
The game starts at 7 p.m.
“So I’ve discarded that long ago.”
And even if Guiao has been under Rain or Shine team owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que, both known for their superstitious beliefs and lucky colors since their days in the defunct PBL, the outspoken mentor said at the end of the day, winning the championship boils down to effort.
“May mga ganun (beliefs), pero baka nahawa na rin sa akin. It’s not the color, it’s not the number or the day, it’s the effort that you put out at the end of the day,” added Guiao, whose latest Game Seven triumph came at the expense of B-Meg (now Purefoods) during the 2012 Governors Cup Finals.
Uichico seconded by saying, winning Game Seven and the title come down to who wants it more.
“They’ve (Elasto Painters) been always hungry. When you reach the championship series, you’re always hungry. So parang parehas na kayo,” said Uichico, whose last PBA title as a coach happened in 2008 when he guided Ginebra to the Fiesta Conference crown.
“We just need an extra push and extra effort, kasi we’re not talking about being up 2-1, it’s that extra effort and extra detail that will win you Game Seven,” he added.
Uichico said he’s expecting a big fightback from import Ivan Johnson, who was held to just six points on a woeful 2-of-9 shooting in Game Six.
“Si Ivan okay naman siya. The last game was just one of those games he had a bad game, but next game he can make it up,” said the Talk “N Text coach, who is looking to steer the Texters to a seventh PBA crown.
Chan is expected to play through the painful torn right plantar fascia, while banged-up Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee and import Wayne Chism will also play through with sprained right ankle and strained right wrist, respectively.