- Published on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 00:00
- Written by NOLI CORTEZ
By A Web design Company
COACH Yeng Guiao believes his Rain or Shine team’s time has come and few would argue with him.
Not after the Elasto Painters scaled a new franchise plateau by beating the Talk N Text Tropang Texters 92-90 last Sunday to move closer to a first-ever finals stint in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine took the best TNT could offer and returned it in kind, even coming up with a gem of a defensive stop in the final second, to emerge as the undisputed top team after the nine-game eliminations.
“We really needed to bring out our Class A game against a Class A team. It’s really satisfying to beat the best team in the league the past few years,” said Guiao.
“Talk N Text has nothing to prove. The burden of proof lies with us. We need to prove we are a contender, not a pretender. We also need to prove this team’s time has come,” he added.
The E-Painters carry over with them an 8-1 record into the five-game semifinals and observers maintain they need just two more victories to advance to the finals.
The next best crew advancing is B-Meg with a 6-3 slate, followed by TNT, Ginebra and defending champion Petron Blaze. Meralco, Powerade and Barako Bull, which are disputing the lone remaining semis berth, will bring a 4-5 record.
Guiao acknowledged the fact a championship appearance is tantalizingly close, but maintained nothing has changed as far as their mind-set is concerned.
“We’re trying to put those challenges in front of us,” he stated. “But, of course, we’re not looking to win not just two. We want to win as many games as we can to toughen us up. Through those games we can gain more experience, reinforce and fortify our system, gain confidence in ourselves.
“Ayokong i-dangle ang two games lang sa players ko. Gusto natin dito, play scared, play like you need to win every game. That should be the attitude we want to engrave in their minds.”
The victory against Talk N Text should go a long way in boosting Rain or Shine’s morale.
Denied of the pole position they have claimed in the last five conferences, the Texters were aiming for a better carryover record while stretching their hot streak to five.
The E-Painters had other plans, however.
Jamelle Cornley highlighted a 19-point performance with six of Rain or Shine’s last seven points before pulling off a clean block on TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo in the last second that denied the Texters the chance for an equalizer.
It was a fitting ending to a tight contest that had the two protagonists battling through five deadlocks and 11 lead changes.
The Texters seemed well on their way with a third quarter lead that stood at 63-54, before the E-Painters fought back and posted a 78-70 spread of their own in the fourth.
Paul Lee was a big help with seven of his 18 points and one of his five feeds in the final canto while Jeff Chan and Jervy Cruz had at least 11 points each.
Jayson Castro wound up with a game-high 25 points for TNT, which drew 11 points each from Paul Harris and Ryan Reyes and 10 apiece from Kelly Williams and Larry Fonacier.
It was also Fonacier who boomed in a triple that moved TNT within 91-90, before Chan left the door open for the Texters by splitting his charities in the last 3.1 seconds.
How his players, the league’s youngest in terms of average age, managed to keep their composure in the endgame was something Guiao wants for the tougher grind ahead.
“We’ve been able to put things together,” he said. “I just hope we can sustain the momentum and confidence that we have gained.”