MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao wants his Elasto Painters squad to embrace the underdog tag as they gear up for their PBA Philippine Cup Finals clash against the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.
The Texters were the top-seeded team after the elimination round of the conference, while the Elasto Painters clinched the third seed.
In the final press conference before the best-of-seven series, Guiao readily acknowledged that he and his team are the underdogs against the Norman Black-coached Texters.
“Alam namin na dehado kami,” he said, as quoted by the PBA website. “Against Ginebra (in the quarter-finals), underdog kami. Against San Mig Coffee (in the semi-finals), di rin kami favored.”
“Lalo na siyempre against Talk ‘N Text, pero gusto namin ‘yun,” Guiao said. “Mas madami sila sa experience at sa championships. Kami, isa lang, pero enough na ‘yun.”
“Mas marami silang talent, kami barya-barya lang. No superstars, but that’s enough.”
Guiao said being the underdogs will only motivate his squad to play harder against Talk 'N Text. The Elasto Painters are hoping to extend the series as long as possible, believing that a long series will favor them.
“The longer the series, the better it is for us. We just want to hang around and give ourselves a chance,” he said.
For his part, TNT’s Black is unconcerned with who the favorites or the underdogs are.
“Who decides who’s the favorite and who’s the underdog in the first place? And does it count?” he asked rhetorically.
And while Rain or Shine is hoping for a long series, Black and the Texters are only concerned about getting to four wins.
“I don’t care how long the series goes as long as we get four wins,” Blacks aid. “If it goes seven, it goes seven. If it goes four, it goes four.”
Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals will be on Wednesday, January 9 at the Araneta Coliseum.