INJURY-riddled San Mig Super Coffee braces for a bruising match against 'kontra pelo' Rain or Shine when they clash in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“The injuries will continue for a while so we just need to find ways to be competitive and win,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said on the eve of the 8 p.m. match against a rugged Rain or Shine.
The Mixers (1-3) are expected to miss two-time league MVP James Yap for the second straight game due to what team physical therapist Arcee Cua describes as an “effusion” or inflammation in the elbow.
Fil-Am forward Joe Devance, who missed the team’s first four games, might suit up and play against the bruising frontline of Rain or Shine, while athletic rookie guard Justin Melton remains out due to a fractured left ring finger.
Cone said playing Rain or Shine (3-1) the past two seasons has not been easy, calling the E-Painters as every PBA team’s “kontra pelo.”
“It never gets easy playing against them (E-Painters). They are not just a kontra pelo for us, but I guess, they are a kontra pelo for anybody out there,” said the multi-titled PBA coach.
“Rain or Shine is good and solid. They’ve got discipline and really, they are tough to beat even when we’re healthy, so what more with several of our guys out to injuries,” he added.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said they need to pounce on San Mig early.
“One thing we’re avoiding is for San Mig to pick things up, so we’ll try to prevent them from coming back,” said Guiao. “It’s understandable that the team is off to a slow start because they are coming from a championship.”
With San Mig still groping for form to start the season, the fiery Rain or Shine mentor is banking on his bruising frontline of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan as well as rookie center Raymond Almazan to limit Mixers forward Marc Pingris’ production in the paint.
The 6-foot-5 Pingris, the PBA Press Corps’ Defensive Player of the Year, averages 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists.