COACH Yeng Guiao hopes to break the pattern of ‘win-lose-win-lose’ games come Saturday when Rain or Shine collides anew with Alaska in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Guiao said the Elasto Painters had a good practice on Friday, while walking through some specific plays in their bid to finally regain control of the best-of-seven series.
Rain or Shine leveled the series at two-game apiece following its 98-91 victory over Alaska in Game Four on Christmas Day.
“We have to deal with defending their (Aces) big guys. Basically, that’s what we talked about in practice because that has been one of our concerns,” said Guiao, whose team is looking to seize a 3-2 lead in their 5 p.m. match.
“But I also feel the pattern will be broken sa fifth game (of the series), na magbabaligtad naman. Of course, one team will go with back-to-back wins and another one with back-to-back losses. Sana kami yung mag-back-to-back wins,” he added.
The fiery Rain or Shine coach admitted they have been completely outplayed by the Aces’ frontline composed of Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, and the re-emergence of 40-year-old forward Eric Menk.
“We’ve been dominated by their big men. That has really been a concern for us because we haven’t been able to match up well with their post presence,” he noted.
Guaio said the only way to negate Alaska’s huge size advantage is to make sure the team converts its three-point shots.
In Game 4, Rain or Shine made 13 three pointers, with veteran gunner Jeff Chan going 7-of-14 that allowed the Asian Coating franchise to turn the tide against Alaska in the final quarter.
“The previous game, we shot 13 three-point shots, and in the previous game we won, we shot the ball well from the outside so come Saturday, it is imperative for us to get our outside game going,” he said.
On the other hand, Alaska coach Alex Compton offered no excuses behind the Aces’ fourth quarter collapsing, claiming he’s responsible for the loss.
“We just need to be tougher down the stretch. And really, the bottom line is, I got outcoached by coach Yeng. I need to do a better job in leading the team,” said Compton, whose team lost Abueva in the dying minutes of Game Four after being slapped with a flagrant foul 2 for an automatic ejection.
Abueva, who averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals in the series, escaped being slapped with a suspension, but was fined P20,000 by commissioner Chito Salud for hitting Jonathan Uyloan with a forearm in the stomach in the final minutes of Game Four.