By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao was pleased with his team’s 87-74 opening day victory over Alaska in Davao City despite late game turnovers that allowed its opponent to trim a huge deficit.
“We’re happy with the way we played, happy with this win. “We’re able to achieve our goals,” said Guiao as Rain or Shine joined two other teams on the win column at the start of the 2014 PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup.
Saved for the late Alaska charge, Guiao was all smiles considering how the Elasto Painters played stingy defense against the Aces in the first three quarters that allowed them to built a huge lead and dictate the tempo of the game.
“We set the defensive tone for the conference. We also limited them to just 34 percent (24-of-70) shooting. We beat them in rebounding (54-49), and then we minimized our turnovers (11) and we shot close to 80 percent (19-of-24) from the free throw line.”
“These are our weaknesses in the last conference, so there was a conscious effort to improve on ourselves in those departments. Tumugma, tumama naman dun sa lahat ng objectives namin going to our first game,” added Guiao.
The Elasto Painters were in control the whole game that it could have probably won by 30 points.
Other opening day winners are Barangay Ginebra and defending three-time champion Talk N’ Text.
Ginebra leaned on a third quarter surge to beat last season’s Governors’ Cup champion San Mig Coffee, 86-69, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while the Tropang Texters drew a sensational performance from rookie Eliud Poligrates to defeat Meralco, 89-80, in Cebu City.
Poligrates, who hails from the same province, dazzled his hometown supporters for 15 points with an array of playground-like moves, completing a rocky journey to the big leagues.
In Davao, Jeff Chan led the way with 17 points punctuated by four triples, while fellow mainstays Larry Rodriguez and Jervy Cruz, the PBA Press Corps’ Mr. Quality Minutes winner, added 13 and 12 markers, respectively, for Rain or Shine.
The other players also had solid contributions, including rookies Jeric Teng and Alex Nuyles who combined for nine points.
Not in the game though, but present in street clothes was 6-foot-7 center Raymond Almazan, who joined the team Sunday morning a day after his team Letran lost to San Beda College in the NCAA Finals. He was drafted third overall by the Painters.
“It a bonus the way Nuyles and Teng were able to jell and provide quality minutes for us. As for Almazan, if it will take him another at least one or two weeks, hindi namin sya kailangan madaliin. We’ll not pressure him to show something right away,” said Guiao, who is happy that his resident frontline of Rodriguez, Cruz, JR Quinahan and Beau Belga was able to dominate the boards against an equally defensive-minded Alaska squad.
Though his team won in convincing fashion, Guiao said it’s hard to make an assessment on how the Painters will fare this conference.
“You cannot gauge anything with just one game. Maybe it will take us three or four games to really make an accurate assessment or evaluation of how the team really is. It looks good for a first game, but you really don’t know if it’s real,” said Guiao.
“It’s too early to tell, but it’s a good sign. We can get some encouragement (with this win),” he added.
Rain or Shine meets Meralco on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, and then takes on pre-season favorite Ginebra on Sunday at the Big Dome.