EVEN with Jeff Chan sidelined by injury and import Bruno Sundov still coping with his new environment, Yeng Guiao remains upbeat Rain or Shine is capable of notching its first victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when it takes on Meralco in the tournament’s first road game Saturday in Puerto Princessa City.
The Elasto Painters are still smarting from an 81-83 loss to the Alaska Aces last week, but are bent on getting a strong bounce-back against the Bolts in their 6:30 p.m. match up at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.
Sundov, the tallest import ever in the 38-year history of the league at 7-foot-3, is coming off a 30-point, 15-rebound effort in his PBA debut.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get the call from game officials in the Elasto Painters’ final offensive play, leading to Cyrus Baguio’s breakaway layup for the winner at the buzzer.
Still, Guiao feels his big Croatian reinforcement is due for a big showing. And he hopes it could come against a Meralco side that is also coming off an 81-85 loss to the same Alaska squad on Wednesday night.
“Siguro di lang siya (Sundov) sanay sa ganung sitwasyon (playing longer minutes and humidity in Manila). Pero siyempre, kailangan niyang masanay to play longer. But I think he’s still in good shape,” Guiao told Spin.ph shortly after Rain or Shine arrived in Puerto Princesa City.
Guiao said they will miss the services of Jeff Chan, the team’s top local scorer last conference, for the next four weeks due to a fractured left thumb he sustained in the Elasto Painters’ recent practice.
But even in his absence, Guiao is confident he’s got enough local players who could ably fill in the void left by the former Far Eastern University stalwart.
“Tingin ko sanay na kami sa ganyan (injuries). Di naman nag-iba ang laro namin nung nawala si Paul Lee (last conference). Somebody can step up because they (players) have the confidence, the knowledge, and the skill. We can hold on without Jeff,” added Guiao, who has Lee, Gabe Norwood and big boys Jervy Cruz, Beau Belga, and JR Quinahan to support Sundov.
Meralco import Eric Dawson is coming off a sub-par 15-point, 13-rebound performance against the Aces, which saw him shoot just 5-of-16 from the field.
The Midwestern State alumnus struggled against Alaska big men Sonny Thoss and Nic Belasco, who repeatedly pushed Dawson out of his comfort zone.
But the Meralco import vowed to bounce back against Sundov and the Elasto Painters.
“We just need to learn from our mistakes and move forward…that’s the journey, you can come and play a different game next,” Dawson said.