By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine was swept by Talk ’N Text for the second time but coach Yeng Guiao found comfort with the way his undermanned team battled the powerhouse squad in their semifinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup recently.
“Our players showed heart and I give them credit for that. I think it’s just their desire to keep fighting for whatever we can achieve,” said Guiao, who was fined a total of P130,000 during the playoffs, including P100,000 when he called rugged Meralco Fil-Am Cliff Hodge “mongoloid.”
“We’ll try again next conference to make it to the Finals,” said Guiao.
Even team owners Raymond Yu and Terry Que were happy with the performance of their players with Yu calling his team “a bunch of courageous players.”
“We hope we can bounce back next conference. But Raymond and I are happy because we made it to the semis again. Last conference we played in the finals, we are still in the top four,” said Que.
“We just hope our players will be healthy next conference,” added Yu.
In last season’s Philippine Cup seven-game championship series, the first time all-Filipino conference finalist ROS was swept by then defending three-time champion Talk ’N Text.
This time, injuries to key players, according to Guiao, led to their downfall.
Already missing JR Quinahan, Chris Tiu and Jervy Cruz for various injuries, the Elasto Painters were further handicapped during Game 3 of their series with TNT when Paul Lee played only for six minutes due to a foot injury.
“It was really frustrating,” rued Guiao. “Not being able to use Chris and Jervy when they are both playing their best basketball, it’s frustrating. Paul tried to play. But instead of making it worse, and probably putting him at risk of aggravating the injury, I decided to play the other guys.”
“But that is basketball. It was our time last conference to be in the championship, this time it’s TNT. They deserve to be in the finals because they are playing the best basketball among the 10 teams,” added Guiao.
The erratic performance of top gunner Jeff Chan also hastened the team’s campaign.
Rain or Shine will have former Best Import Arizona Reid as their reinforcement in the Governors’ Cup. The 6-foot-4 Reid is expected to arrive ahead of the Painters’ resumption of training session tomorrow.
It was in 2011 when Reid first played for Rain or Shine, and after helping the team reach the semifinals, he was named the Best Import. Last season, he was again tabbed but the Painters lost to the Petron Blaze Boosters (now San Miguel Beer) in their semis showdown.