Down and appeared to be weary following four straight losses, the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters face an even more daunting task when they battle co-leader San Miguel Beer on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters were deprived of snapping their skid when they bungled an opportunity to secure what appeared to be an already won game over defending champion TNT. Rain Or Shine squandered a 78-68 in the last 2:46 of regulation and was outplayed by its more experienced rival in the endgame and eventually lost in overtime.
Their morale may be low at this time, but head coach Chris Gavina felt it’s not the time to change its mindset in hope of getting over the hump.
Rain Or Shine won its first game of the season, but lost four in a row since then.
“We can never change our mindset from playing to win to playing not to lose,” wrote Gavina in a text message to ABS-CBN. “Teams are too good in the PBA, even with a 10-point lead with 2:46 left in the game. No lead is safe.”
Its core is composed mostly of rookies and sophomores, Rain Or Shine couldn’t even get a big lift from their old reliable players.
Rey Nambatac, the team’s acknowledged top gunner, disappeared when the game was on the line. He was held scoreless bridging the fourth and overtime periods, although he came away with 16 points in the Elasto Painters’ 89-85 overtime loss to the Tropang Giga.
Even the team’s elder statesmen – Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood – were hardly a factor on offense.
Belga was 1-for-8 from the field and finished with only five points while Norwood only had two on 1-for-5 shooting.
For Rain Or Shine to arrest a four-game skid, they need a balance production both from its young guns and its veteran players, especially against a powerhouse Beermen team that only has one thing in mind and that is to reclaim the solo lead and its fifth win in six matches.
“We veered away from our constant movement on offense and our philosophy of staying in front of the ball defensively. We gave TNT life by giving up back-to-back treys and then we kept allowing them down hill on us, which we had done a good job of containing for the majority of the game,” wrote Gavina.
But he knows his team carries some positive things ahead of its all-important match against San Miguel.
“The positive side of that game is we had control of the game until those latter minutes of the fourth, so that is something we can build up and bring as a lesson to take into our next game against San Miguel,” added Gavina.