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PBA: Revenge in the air

San Mig and Rain or Shine players

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Mig Coffee

It was only two seasons ago when Rain or Shine and San Mig Super Coffee – then under the banner of B-Meg – clashed in a clashed in a Finals series that went to Game 7 with the Elasto Painters prevailing for their first ever PBA championship.

Rain or Shine and San Mig Super Coffee renew their rivalry when they collide in Game 1 of their best-of-seven championship showdown for the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The game is scheduled at 8 p.m.

Rain or Shine booked the first championship berth as it stunned Petron Blaze in their seven-game semifinal showdown, 4-1, for their third finals appearance in the last three conferences, then waited almost a week for their finals opponent.

The Mixers clinched the second finals berth as they downed the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in Game 7, 110-87, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 24,883 last Wednesday at the Big Dome.

Former two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) James Yap scored a personal conference high 30 points, while PJ Simon added 28 points, and Marc Pingris collected eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and four blocks in 41 minutes of action as the San Mig franchise moved to the finals stage for the 19th time.

Rain or Shine will enter the series-opener fresh after winning Game 5 of its semifinals showdown with Petron, 97-88, exactly a week ago, which is something coach Yeng Guiao said could work on their advantage as they will face a team that went to a tough seven-game series.

“I think our advantage is the one-week break, nakapag-ipon kami ng lakas,” said Guiao, who is in his 12th finals stint and is aiming for his seventh PBA title but first in an all-Filipino championship, during the Finals press conference yesterday at the Sambokijin Restaurant in Eastwood Libis, Quezon City.

“But until we play San Mig in Game 1, then we’ll know if that long break will be really a plus for us. We expect the series to be a tough one,” added Guiao, whose team will also enter the Finals
carrying the momentum of winning 12 of their last 13 games dating back to the elimination round.

Guiao was accompanied by Paul Lee, Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood.

Rain or Shine edged San Mig (then known as B-Meg) in the Finals of the 2012 Governors’ Cup with Best Import winner Jamelle Cornley in seven games for their first ever PBA title.

The Elasto Painters also won against the Mixers in the semifinals of the 2013 Philippine Cup to advance to the Finals against Talk ’N Text, which scored a clean sweep of the seven-game series. This conference, Rain or Shine went 2-0 opposite San Mig in the elimination round.

However, Guiao said the two victories they had, 86-83 last Dec. 6 and 101-77 last Dec. 29, will no longer count even their previous success against San Mig as this title series will be totally different.

“They’re playing the best basketball at least in the last seven games. They didn’t start well in this conference, but they have found ways to get here because of their determination, and that’s the kind of character this team has,” said Guiao, who is facing Cone for only the second time in the Finals.

“It’s a whole new different team. We have to look at that point of view. For us, the biggest mistake we’ll make is to think that we have their numbers,” said Guiao, who pointed to the improvement of guard Mark Barroca to complement Yap, Pingris and Simon, as well as the valuable minutes given by rookies Justin Melton and Ian Sangalang.