- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 00:00
- Written by NOLI CORTEZ
By A Web design Company
RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao once said his youth-laden team’s time has come.
If the Elasto Painters want to prove their chief tactician right and cut short their long wait, they need to get their act together.
They need to do it today, when Rain or Shine tackles B-Meg in the first of two all-important matches in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The match decides which team makes it outright to the finals, with the winner of the other game between Ginebra and surging Talk N Text earning the right to clash with the loser of the opener for the second finals berth.
B-Meg, coming off an 82-70 drubbing of the Kings last Sunday, appears to have the inside track but coach Tim Cone preferred to sound cautious.
“It should be a bruising, physical encounter, but I think our guys are ready for it,” said Cone.
After emerging as the eliminations topnotcher for the first time in franchise history, Rain or Shine has floundered, having lost three of its four semis games, including a 90-98 defeat to TNT last Monday.
In the course of the game against the Tropang Texters, Jeff Chan sprained his right foot and Paul Lee re-injured his left shoulder, forcing them to skip yesterday’s practice.
The E-Painters are not about to press the panic button, however.
“The chances for us to make it are bigger or greater since we are more experienced this time than in our last semifinals stint (against Powerade in the season-opening Philippine Cup),” said Guiao. “We’ve been together longer and our import is the right fit for us.”
Even Guiao, however, admitted his team has struggled of late. “We cannot nail that last win. It’s been so elusive for us,” he said.
“But we consider it as a challenge. If our top scorers remain doubtful and cannot play the rest need to step up. I know they will try their best and they’d be ready to take on B-Meg,” he said, adding: “B-Meg has been playing its best so far, so we have to be at our best.”
Rain or Shine beat B-Meg 100-94 in overtime the first time they met last May 25 while the Llamados were still savoring their victorious campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Yeng Guiao teams are always tough with their backs against the wall so we’re really expecting a tough fight,” said Cone.
The loser faces the winner of the Talk N Text-Ginebra tiff in a knockout game on Friday for the second berth in the championship match. Both the Texters and Kings have won three of their four semis games and either can play off for the second finals berth by virtue of the 4-of-5 incentive.
Knowing what’s at stake, the opposing coaches were one in saying the obvious–the match is a “no-tomorrow” battle.
“One miss we die,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes, to which Ginebra counterpart Siot Tanquingcen countered: “Win to stay alive.”
The Texters prevailed in their lone eliminations battle last June 24, but only after holding off the Kings’ gritty fight-back from a 13-point fourth quarter-deficit.