THIS early, San Mig Coffee's towering frontline is giving Yeng Guiao sleepless nights.
"Our biggest concern is the size differential at the frontline,” said the Rain or Shine coach ahead of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against the Mixers kicking off on Wednesday. “Rebounding is still our biggest problem as shown in the Ginebra (quarterfinals) series."
Guiao's overweight but undersized frontline took a pounding from Ginebra in the rebounding department in their best-of-three quarterfinal series that went the distance, and he expects to encounter more problems in that area against one of the tallest teams in the league.
With a frontline bannered by 6-8 Yancy de Ocampo, 6-7 Rafi Reavis, rebounding demon Marc Pingris, the versatile Joe Devance and rookie Aldrech Ramos, San Mig emerged as the best rebounding team in the eliminations while holding opponnents to a league-best 37 percent shooting.
Painters lost the battle off both boards to a much smaller Ginebra team by a -11.5 difference in the quarters, and figures his frontliners, led by Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, and Jervy Cruz, need to work double time just to be competitive against the Mixers' big men.
Rain or Shine beat San Mig in seven games in the last Governors Cup finals, but the Painters then had an import in Jamelle Cornley who was able to compensate for the team's lack of size and depth inside the paint.
To compensate, Guiao now hopes to turn every game of the series into a sprint race, hoping the faster Painters can run the Mixers to the ground.
"We aim to keep the game fast to compensate for our lack of size," said the multi-titled coach. "We are happy that we are back in full force, now that (defensive stopper) Jireh (Ibanes) is able to play.”
Guiao, however, can't expect to crack open San Mig's defense if top gun Jeff Chan shoots as miserably as he did in the series against Ginebra. The Smart Gilas mainstay averaged just six points in three games against the Kings while making just two of 19 attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
Guiao is hopeful Chan can redeem himself in the Final Four.
“Jeff’s just on a slump right now. I hope he can shoot his way out of the slump," Guiao said. "I’ve been telling him, if it’s his normal shot, just take it.”