MANILA, Philippines - The absence of coach Yeng Guiao could be the rallying point that could well fire up the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as they take their first of three cracks at the finals against the Petron Blaze Boosters in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The E-Painters have been in the same situation before and they have shown their capability and resiliency to stay together and defy the odds.
They could even be more dangerous as they set out for the 8 p.m. match .“We stand by coach Yeng. His absence will motivate Rain or Shin to play harder and more focused,” said Rain or Shine co-owner Raymond Yu.
Guiao is serving the game suspension he incurred for an obscene gesture done after being tossed out of Game Four for technical fouls.
“The root cause of the problem should be looked into. Coaches like Norman Black, Bong Ramos, Luigi Trillo and Ryan Gregorio have also raised issues about officiating,” said Yu.
The amiable Asian Coating Inc. boss, nonetheless, insisted they would be ready to play, believing assistant coach Caloy Garcia and the other members of their coaching staff can do the job without Guiao.
Garcia handled the team well as he took over upon Guiao’s exit in the third quarter Monday. They pulled off the pivotal win also minus chief playmaker Paul Lee who suffered an ankle sprain on a bad fall in the second quarter.
The E-Painters are likely to continue to rally behind their coach as they go for the series clincher tonight.
Emerging as a major contender under Guiao, Rain or Shine is chasing a third finals stint in the last five conferences.
Petron coach Gee Abanilla knows well the character of Guiao’s team, having served as Guiao’s chief deputy for a longtime at Red Bull.
But Abanilla would rather stick on what they must do to survive.
“We are focusing on things that we can control and are not blaming anyone for our predicament,” Abanilla said.
“The series could have gone the other way around especially in Game Two and Game Four, but that’s the essence of sports,” Abanilla also said. “They may have won the battle but not the war. It’s not yet over.”
Abanilla said their morale is okay though they’re in a deep 1-3 hole, needing to win three in a row to salvage the series.
“The important is we still have a chance to pick ourselves up and fight another game,” he said.