MANILA, Philippines - Having brushed off some rust Friday, Rain or Shine is out to pick up steam again as it goes for a two-zero lead versus San Mig Coffee in their PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven titular showdown tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Returning from a weeklong break, the Elasto Painters struggled a bit, walking the tightrope before salvaging Game One, 83-80, on Paul Lee’s endgame heroics.
But Lee and his teammates could be back in the groove now and could be much, much tougher for Game Two set at 4:30 p.m.
And the same goes with the San Mig Coffee Mixers, making Game Two a must-see duel.
“It (Game One) was a tough loss for me personally, but I think our guys will take heart in the fact they had their chances to win that game,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
“We missed 15 free throws and went 1-of-11 from the three-point line and still was in that game at the end,” Cone also said. “Give credit to the RoS defense, but we feel we can play a lot better as the series progresses.”
With another practice session yesterday, the Mixers could be more ready for the E-Painters in Game Two. On Friday, San Mig took on Rain or Shine with hardly a preparation since it disposed of Barangay Ginebra in their semis battle just on Wednesday.
Needless to say, Cone and his troops expect a tough grind against the Rain or Shine team which has won 13 of its last 14 games.
The Elasto Painters are on a four-game playoffs romp going to today’s game.
Guiao, however, insists it’s so early in the series, and all they have got is one game.
“It’s just one game. And Game One is really just a feeling-out game,” said Guiao who was impressed with San Mig’s energy after a long semis series.
“They do not look they’re tired. Coach Tim is doing a great job preserving his players,” Guiao said.
Nonetheless, Guiao said they would try to wear out San Mig Coffee, believing: “The longer the series goes, the bigger our chance of winning the series is.”
For Guiao is shuffling all his 14 players with almost even playing minutes while Cone has a short core rotation of nine to 10. And out of these numbers, about seven to eight play heavy minutes.
In Game One, Joe Devance, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, James Yap, Rafi Reavis each played no less than 27 minutes. Then there were Mark Barroca and Justin Melton who played 23 and 24 minutes, respectively.
On Rain or Shine’s side, not a single player logged more than 29 minutes.
Ace guard Lee saw action for just 23 minutes and thus was full of energy in the crunch.
Perhaps because of fatigue, the Mixers went 15-of-30 from the stripe and 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Lee grabbed a crucial defensive rebound then converted a quick basket from an inbound in an endgame heroic propelling RoS to the crucial Game One victory.