THE game may no longer have any bearing for Rain or Shine that coach Yeng Guiao could afford not to be there anymore and concentrate instead on a campaign rally in Pampanga Wednesday where he is running for a congressional seat.
But he vows to call the shots for the Elasto Painters and not take the Meralco Bolts lightly when the two teams clash in the final elimination round playdate of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“I’ll be coming from a big meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) in Pampanga. Actually, it’s going to be a big rally, but my intention is to coach kahit ramdam ko naman na para sa amin, wala nang bearing ang laro,” Guiao told Spin.ph after the team’s practice at the North Greenhills gym in San Juan on Tuesday.
Win or lose, the Elasto Painters already have a lock on the No. 2 seeding going into the quarterfinals with a 9-4 slate. Alaska is the only team that has a better record than Rain or Shine at 11-3.
The game though matters for the Bolts as a victory in the 5:15 p.m. match would propel the team to a best-of-three series with defending champion San Mig Coffee - and leave Ginebra to face the twice-to-beat Painters in the last eight.
A loss, however, will relegate Meralco to No. 7 spot and a quarterfinal match-up with Rain or Shine.
Rain or Shine won its lone match up with Meralco in the conference, 91-82, held in Puerto Princesa. Import Bruno Sundov was a tower of strength in the win, scoring 20 points and hauling down 19 rebounds.
“We will play our usual game and try to end the elims on a winning note. Our objective is to stay sharp and be mentally ready,” said Guiao.
“In fact, the game will also be an opportunity to scout them (Bolts) since if we beat them, they will be our opponent also in the quarterfinals. So it’s an opportunity for us to make some experiments,” he added.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio knows the importance of the game, saying the Bolts will have to improve on their team defense and hopefully try to focus on executing their plays.
“For them (Elasto Painters), this is a no-bearing game, but again, this game has more weight for us. And they won’t give it to us on a silver platter. This is not the time to panic though, we just have to improve on our defense,” said Gregorio.