PBA: Rain or Shine 'hungrier' than TNT, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 10 2020 09:39 PM

PBA: Rain or Shine 'hungrier' than TNT, says coach 1
Rain or Shine's Gabe Norwood blocks a shot from TNT's Poy Erram in their PBA Philippine Cup game. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- Rain or Shine had three chances to secure a playoff spot in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, but they got it done in their first try.

The Elasto Painters needed to win just one of their last two games against TNT Tropang Giga and Phoenix Super LPG in order to complete the quarterfinals cast of the conference. Even if they lost, they still had one last chance in a possible knockout game against the NLEX Road Warriors.

But Rain or Shine took care of business, outlasting TNT 80-74 on Tuesday night to hike their record to 6-4. In the process, they eliminated NLEX from the playoff race, and kept themselves in the hunt for a Top 4 finish as well.

"It releases a lot of pressure, especially from the players' side," Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said. 

"Of course, we're still looking to win kasi siyempre, possibility mo mag-Top 4 pa eh. So you try to get the best position that you can go," he added. "But at least today, we were able to get into the quarters." 

Rain or Shine had to shake off a three-game losing streak midway through the conference and grab wins over the Blackwater Elite and TNT in order to make it to the playoffs.

"Sabi ko nga sa kanila, we have to grab the opportunity now since we know that Talk 'N Text right now is secured," Garcia noted. "So sabi ko, baka mamaya, relaxed 'yan sa simula." 

The Tropang Giga were indeed a step slow in their game, and Rain or Shine led by as much as 10 points before needing a strong defensive stand in the last two minutes to pull off the win. 

"Sabi ko, we have to be hungrier than Talk 'N Text. And I think, what Talk 'N Text did today is, they were trying to practice their plays, trying to get others involved," Garcia said

"Ayun, it gave us an opportunity which we were able to grab," he added.

For Garcia, just reaching the playoffs is already a big achievement for his team. He notes that several of his veterans are nursing injuries, including Rey Nambatac, Beau Belga, and James Yap. They also give significant minutes to their rookies, including Adrian Wong and Clint Doliguez.

The coach was full of praise for his veterans, who were determined to play despite their various ailments. Yap, in particular, set the tone for Rain or Shine with 16 points in the first half.

"Today, we were trying to maximize 'yung mga beterano. And then tomorrow, we'll try to maximize naman 'yung mga rookies," said Garcia. "Si Beau, injured, Rey is injured, James is injured. But they really wanted to play today, 'cause sabi nga nila, sayang ang opportunity to grab it now." 

Rain or Shine's last elimination round game is against Phoenix Super LPG on Wednesday night, after which the seedings will be determined. The Elasto Painters can still end up finishing in the Top 4, which will give them a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

Watch more News on iWantTFC