For the first time in nearly four seasons, Rain or Shine has found itself in an ‘unfamiliar territory’ and that is playing in a do-or-die game, not once but thrice, just to keep alive its bid for back-to-back titles.
Actually, that is four ‘make-or-break’ games and ROS already survived the initial hurdle after the Elasto Painters defeated the Star Hotshots, 108-97, to finish their PBA Governors’ Cup elimination round campaign with a 5-6 card.
The win forced a tie for seventh to ninth places with NLEX, Rain or Shine and Phoenix Fuel, but due to superior quotient, the Road Warriors have earned outright quarterfinal berth.
That leaves Rain or Shine and Phoenix clashing in a do-or-die game to decide the eighth spot on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with the winner facing the top team – either TNT Katropa or Barangay Ginebra – that is armed with a twice-to-beat bonus.
“This time, this is really far off from where we wanted to be (this conference), far from where we were the past conferences,” said ROS mentor Yeng Guiao as his team struggled to find the right chemistry.
The team started with import Dior Lowhorn, but he proved to be ineffective and eventually was replaced by Greg Smith, who – unfortunately – was measured over the required height limit of 6-foot-5.
The team then tabbed Jason Forte, but after three games, Joshua Dollard replaced him as ROS import. Dollard had 27 points and 14 rebounds in ROS’s win versus Star, while Beau Belga added 14 points, and Paul Lee and Jeff Chan combined for 20 points.
Since the 2013 Governors’ Cup, Rain or Shine has made the semifinal round by earning either a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, a best-of-three series or an outright semifinal ticket. (Waylon Galvez)