MANILA – San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone has a lot of respect for fellow finalist Rain or Shine, but he thinks the team is better matched against the Elasto Painters this time around.
The last time the two squads fought in the finals was when Rain or Shine went the distance and defeated San Mig Coffee for the 2012 Governors’ Cup title.
“We have a lot of respect for Rain or Shine. The first time we met in the Finals, we’re also trying to get back-to-back championships. They’re a big hurdle for us because they play hard all the time,” Cone said on the PBA's website.
But he said the Mixers have improved since then. “Honestly, we’re a bit better, a bit deeper now than we were then,” noted Cone. “We’re gonna go in there in Game 1 and see what we can do.”
Cone added that their upcoming best-of-7 series with the Elasto Painters means a lot more than the other conference titles since he believes winning the Philippine Cup title means having the best team in the PBA.
“If you win with imports, you’re the best team with the best import. But in the Philippine Cup, you’re the best team. That’s our goal – to be best team out there,” he said.
For his part, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao refuses to underestimate the Mixers, saying San Mig Coffee has been playing with the best basketball and biggest heart in the past games.
“They didn’t start well, but that’s a tribute to their resiliency. That’s a test of their character, and that’s something we have to play against,” said Guiao. “The biggest mistake we can make is to think that we still have their number, because that’s what we don’t have.”
San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine will begin their title series on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.