IMPORT Wayne Chism was both lean and mean in his comeback stint with Rain or Shine, which he led to a rousing 99-89 win over Alaska in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Chism showed fire and determination in leading the Elasto Painters to their fourth win in six starts after finishing with 24 points and 22 rebounds.
Looking trim and sharp after losing 20 pounds, the 6-foot-8 import said his new form has something to do with the twice-a-day practice he had with Hapoel Gilboa Galil in the Israeli League the past month prior to coming over.
“When you play in Europe and you practice twice a day, you lose a couple of pounds,” said the 27-year-old native of Jackson, Tennessee, who took over the job vacated by Rick Jackson.
[See Norwood-led endgame blitch enables RoS to finish off Alaska]
But the former University of Tennessee big man said his explosiveness and ability to keep pace with Rain or Shine’s transition game was also a product of his “strictly no-pork diet.”
“I just ate pretty much because my wife put me on a diet. I ate rice, chicken and lot of vegetables. No pork. And it made me feel good and I got up and down the court and helped my team win tonight,” he added with a smile.
Fil-Am guard Gabe Norwood, who led Rain or Shine’s endgame 13-4 windup, noted that Chism’s entry made the team a lot quicker.
“Wayne’s energy is big. And that’s one thing because we got out and ran,” stressed Norwood, who finished with 14 points.
“We were kinda limited in fastbreaks before, but just his (Chism) ability to run with us and get things going, it definitely helped us tonight.”
Despite the win, Chism said it’s still a long way to go for him and the Elasto Painters before duplicating the semifinal feat they did in this same tournament last season.
“I feel like I do (have a mission to complete with Rain or Shine), but it’s a hard quest to conquer, though I’m up to the challenge because it’s gonna be a long fight,” he pointed out.
The victory over Alaska vaulted Rain or Shine to a share of third spot with defending champion Purefoods.
Rain or Shine takes a weeklong break before returning to action next Friday against Barako Bull.