YENG Guiao returns from a brief business trip in Taiwan and tries to bring back the grit and toughness Rain or Shine lacked during its PBA Governors Cup debut on Tuesday night against Air21.
Guiao reported straight to the Elasto Painters’ practice on Thursday to personally prepare the team as it plays San Miguel Beer in Friday’s main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 8 p.m.
The outspoken Rain or Shine coach said the team’s opening day loss to the Express was nothing but the “lack of desire to compete.”
“We just have to find ourselves again because our loss to Air21 had nothing to do with the ability of the players than the lack of desire kasi di ko nakita 'yung determination and desire that we were known for (against Air21),” said Guiao, who was not around during the team’s 103-96 loss against the Express.
Likewise, Rain or Shine has been hobbled by injuries to key players JR Quinahan, Jervy Cruz, Chris Tiu, and Paul Lee.
Tiu and Lee managed to play, while Cruz remains a game-time decision as he recovers from an MCL sprain on his knee.
“I don’t want to make the injuries of the team as an excuse because we always thought that our system and our character have carried us before in situations like these,” Guiao said.
Defensively, Guiao expects his veterans led by Beau Belga, back-up big man Larry Rodriguez, Jeff Chan, and Paul Lee to lead the way along with comebacking import Arizona Reid.
On the other hand, San Miguel coach Biboy Ravanes said the Beermen have also mapped out a specific game plan as they try to bounce back from their own opening-day loss to Alaska.
Still, Ravanes said the key is to get off to a strong start and be able to sustain the energy for 48 minutes.
“We look forward to starting strong and being aggressive tomorrow (Friday). We have to instill our defensive principles for the entire 48 minutes,” said Ravanes, whose team is smarting from an 87-94 loss to the Aces on Sunday.
“We are expecting a tough game tomorrow since both teams are coming off a loss. They are tougher now especially with coach Yeng Guiao back. We will have to focus on better execution and expect the locals to step up,” he added.
San Miguel import Reggie Williams exploded for 42 points, spiked by seven three-point shots, nine rebounds, and five assists in his first game in the league.