Even with a 2-0 advantage, Rain or Shine mentor Yeng Guiao has been in the PBA long enough to understand that there is no safe lead, particularly against a resilient Alaska side that has the tools to stage a comeback in their Oppo Commissioner’s Cup finals series.
The Elasto Painters took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven title showdown opposite the Aces with a 105-103 win in Game 2 following a last-second shot by Paul Lee last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We have a two-game cushion but it’s not safe against Alaska,” said Guiao, fully aware of the ‘no quit team’ Alaska established since last season with some notable comeback wins.
“They know they’re a good team, they know they can come back… we also know that,” added Guiao, who is eyeing his seventh PBA championship – and second with the RoS franchise.
Game 3 of the series is set tomorrow at the Big Dome.
After firing a personal conference best of 20 points in a 105-97 triumph during Game 1 of the finals, the 6-foot-1 Lee was at it again in Game 2 as he finished with 17 points capped by that winning shot.
It was Lee who orchestrated the final play of RoS in the waning seconds of Game 2, as he drove inside the lane against Alaska import Rob Dozier before kicking it out to an open Beau Belga on the left wing corner – right in front of the Rain or Shine bench.
The shot of the 6-5 Belga was a bit strong, hitting the right side of the rim.
The leather landed right in front of Lee as he found himself free 10-feet from the basket. After catching the ball, Lee – without dribbling – took a jumper as his jumper found nothing but net with 0.1 second left.
“It’s getting harder to win as the series progresses,” said Guiao.
Another concern of Guiao going to Game 3 is the performance of Alaska forward Calvin Abueva, who – in his own standard – is not playing “his usual game” as the top contender for Best Player of the Conference is averaging just 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the series.
As for Alaska head coach Alex Compton, he thinks that his Aces have not played “smart enough” in the first two games in the series, but is confident they are still in contention to win the title.
“There are good players on our team. We talk and we practice, but we’re just not sharp enough. Our general team character is one of great resolve. We got to go out and earn it,” added Compton.