(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Blackwater vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs Rain or Shine
Is there life for Rain or Shine without coach Yeng Guiao?
The Elasto Painters will find out as they start their post-Guiao era against TNT KaTropa today as both teams debut in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao and RoS parted ways in the off-season when the veteran mentor decided not to renew his contract with the team – and joined NLEX instead – that ended a six-year partnership that produced two league championships.
“Parang bagong simula kasi ngayon lang kami mag-start ng season na wala si coach Yeng,” said RoS veteran center Beau Belga.
“Medyo nakaka-panibago… pero tuloy lang kami sa paglaban,” he added.
The game between the Elasto Painters and the KaTropa is set at 7 p.m. TNT is also starting its own campaign under a new leadership after assistant coach Nash Racela was elevated as head coach replacing Jong Uichico.
Racela, however, will not be coaching for TNT as he will only be available after his coaching stint with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the UAAP, which bars its coaches from calling the shots in other leagues, including the PBA.
Against the Painters, the Katropa will be handled for now by lead assistant Josh Reyes, son of former TNT mentor and current Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.
Aside from the coaching change, Rain or Shine has also made a few tweaks in its roster as it dealt versatile guard Paul Lee to the Star Hotshots, and shipped veteran center JR Quiñahan to the Globalport Batang Pier.
Two legit scorers will fill in that vacuum as former two-time MVP James Yap, obtained in the Star deal, and forward Anthony Jay Washington, who came from Globalport, are now part of the squad under coach Caloy Garcia.
Yap will miss the game, however, as he recovers from a recent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but Washington – a former No. 1 overall pick – is very much excited to start his stint with RoS where he played during his PBL days (known as Welcoat Paints).
“We have a good mix of players, yung mga dating andito na sa team and yung mga bago gaya ni Washington and si Tolomia. Sayang lang di pa pwede si James, pero I think maganda ang papakita namin maski medyo may mga nagbago,” said RoS shooter Jeff Chan.
The team’s roster remains solid with the return of veterans Gabe Norwood and Belga, who signed separate three-year deals to stay with the team. Also staying with the team are center Jewel Ponferada and Raymond Almazan, and third year guard Jericho Cruz.