YENG Guiao said Rain or Shine's 93-88 loss to Alaska felt like deja vu, being eerily similar to the series-opening game which also saw the Elasto Painters blow a big lead.
The Elasto Painters let a 19-point lead disappear on Saturday, the second time they did so in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series after allowing Alaska to come back from 17-points down in a 90-97 loss in Game One.
“It’s (Alaska’s Game Five win) very similar to Game One. We had a good lead, we had the momentum but again it’s a game of runs,” lamented the Rain or Shine coach.
“The first half, we still had a good six-point lead (at the half) and to me, that was still okay because I expect runs from both sides. But in the second half, again it’s a question of sustaining the energy because we got outrebounded and we couldn’t sustain the pace.”
Alaska’s size advantage allowed it to beat Rain or Shine in the rebound battle, 65-52, as the the Aces’ frontline of Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, Eric Menk and Vic Manuel hauled down at least seven rebounds each in Game Five.
Guiao said he believes the team is capable of beating Alaska any given night in the series, but he felt Rain or Shine’s tendency to relax during stretches in a game led to the collapse.
“We know we have the capability to carve out a win but sometimes, we relax too soon. It’s the same mental trap we fell into in Game One. We relaxed too early,” rued Guiao.
Guiao said the team will take a break on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday to give his players the time to get together with their respective families before returning to battle in Game Six on January 4.
But other than that, they will have to go back to the drawing board and map out their next plan in a bid to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game Seven on January 7.
“We will make adjustments for Game Game and I’m confident we can bring it to a Game Seven,” he said. “It’s just enough na nakapahinga ka that you don’t lose your sharpness and you still get to celebrate the New Year and allow them some time with their family din.”