The injuries, the shooting struggles and the defensive breakdowns all proved too costly for Rain or Shine’s campaign as the Elasto Painters got the boot following a semifinal series defeat to San Miguel Beer in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup.
“We just messed it up. We bungled our chance to make the finals,” a disappointed Guiao told the covering press after the team’s 90-82 loss in Game 6 of the semifinals showdown last Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We had a break when (June Mar) Fajardo got injured (left knee), but we’re not able to capitalize on it. It’s our fault. We can’t blame anybody,” added Guiao.
The 6-10 Fajardo left with eight minutes left in the third period, although the struggles of Rthe Painters should be traced back to when they blew a 22-point advantage on their way to a 105-109 defeat in Game 1.
RoS managed to win Games 2 (105-97) and 3 (111-106) to take a 2-1 lead in the series. However, injury problems got in the way of the team in the next three matches.
First to go down was 6-8 center Raymond Almazan, who was ruled out for the rest of the series after he suffered a Grade 3 right sprained ankle during practice session prior to Game 3.
Then there was guard Jericho Cruz sustaining a hyper-extended left knee late in Game 3 and sat out in Game 4, and superstar point guard Paul Lee missing Game 6 due to injured left knee – the same knee where a he received a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment to repair a partial tear of the meniscus and ITB (Ilitotibial Band) tendon.
The absence of Almazan shortened the frontline rotation of Guiao to Beau Belga, JR Quiñahan and Jewel Ponferada, while Lee’s injury limited the RoS backcourt rotation with Chris Tiu and rookie Mav Ahanmisi running the play.
“We’re not ready to win a championship,” said Guiao.
“The best thing we can do is to get ready for the next conference. We just have to learn and pick up the pieces from this experience and bring it to the next conference. It’s probably going to make us stronger,” the veteran mentor added.
Rain or Shine, which made the Finals of the Commissioner’s Cup last season, is bringing back import Wayne Chism, who is already in town and is ready to resume practice session.