With incoming import Antoine Wright still a game-time decision, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said the team is ready to play all-Filipino as the Elasto Painters clash with winless Barangay Ginebra on Sunday’s main game of the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao explained the 6-foot-7 Wright’s status all depends on how he reacts to jetlag as well as how he responds to the basic plays he will be teaching on Sunday afternoon.
“He (Wright) will have a walk-through ng tanghali bukas (Sunday) kasi madaling araw siya darating, but if he won’t be ready, we’ll play all-Filipino,” said Guiao.
The 32-year-old Wright, who is coming from Los Angeles, is set to arrive at dawn of Sunday.
The outspoken Rain or Shine coach said Wright’s permits have already been taken cared and he will just need to undergo the official height measurement the same day.
With or without Wright, the 15th overall pick of the New Jersey Nets in the 2005 NBA draft, Guiao is confident of his all-Filipino personnel as they find ways to defend Ginebra’s 6-3 import Othyus Jeffers, the shortest reinforcement in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“The good side about playing without an import is Ginebra is struggling and they have a smaller import, so that means Gabe (Norwood) and Jireh (Ibanes) can defend them. In a way, puwede naming ma-compensate,” Guiao told FOX Sports, whose team lost Wayne Chism to injury last Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5 Norwood, a mainstay of Gilas the past three years, is one of Guiao’s top import-stoppers.
The top overall pick in the 2008 PBA Draft is a member of the All-Defensive team four times.
On the other hand, the 34-year-old Ibanes has made a living as a defensive stopper in his 10-year PBA career with the Asian Coating franchise.
“I hope Gabe and Jireh can matchup with their import. As long as we step like the game against Meralco, we can give ourselves a chance to win on Sunday,” explained Guiao.
The Kings are struggling in the mid-season conference after dropping a 114-112 decision to the NLEX Road Warriors, followed by an 89-85 defeat to the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Rain or Shine, on the other hand, is coming off a 98-95 setback against Meralco in a game that saw Guiao’s wards stage a furious comeback in the second half sans Chism.
The Elasto Painters had 2 chances to send the game into overtime but big man JR Quinahan missed his 2 three-point tries in the dying seconds, allowing the Bolts to escape with the win and remain unbeaten after 3 starts. – By Richard Dy
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