RAIN or Shine took a commanding 3-1 lead in its best-of-seven semifinal series against San Mig Coffee with a masterful 83-74 win on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena in the 2012-13 PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
The victory enabled the Elasto Painters to move a win away from a first-ever all-Filipino Finals stint and back-to-back PBA Finals appearances, both of which has never been achieved before in franchise history.
Actually, the reigning Governors Cup titlist is eyeing not just a first-ever all-Filipino title for itself but also for head coach Yeng Guiao, who has six championships under his belt in 20 seasons as a head coach in the PBA but none in an all-Filipino conference.
The results of Rain or Shine’s current semis series against San Mig Coffee has so far duplicated how both teams’ Finals series in the 2012 Governors Cup began, with the Elasto Painters also winning Games One, Three, and four en route to a 3-1 lead.
Rain or Shine eventually won the championship, a first for the franchise, but not after the then B-Meg Llamados extended the series to a deciding Game Seven.
Guiao said his team will try to finish off the Mixers on Saturday and avoid being dragged into a Game Seven by the Mixers, just like in the last conference finals.
“That can very well happen if we become complacent and if we let our guards down. We will make sure we are ready mentally in the next game,” Guiao said after their Game Four win. “Hindi na namin pababayaan ito.”
In PBA best-of-seven history, 49 of 52 teams which took a 3-1 lead went on to win the series.
However if there’s one team which knows how to come back from a 1-3 best-of-seven deficit, it’s the San Mig Coffee franchise.
Then known as Purefoods, the TJ Giants beat Alaska and now current head coach Tim Cone in the 2006 Philippine Cup semifinals en route to winning the championship, despite being down 1-3 in the series.
The two other teams to achieve the feat were Ginebra in the 1991 First Conference Finals against Shell, and Talk ‘N Text in last season’s Philippine Cup semis against Petron Blaze.