Facing San Miguel Beer for the 3rd straight conference in a semifinal series has its advantages and disadvantages according to Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao said one clear advantage is his team’s familiarity on how its opponent plays. But the disadvantage easily outweighs the advantage since the Beermen boast of a deep bench, a high-scoring import in Tyler Wilkerson as well as a dominant center in June Mar Fajardo.
“Actually facing San Miguel is both an advantage and a disadvantage. But while we’re familiar with how they play now, ang disadvantage is kumpleto sila, malalaki sila and malalim ang bench nila,” explained Guiao during a short break on Thursday in his political campaign sortie in Angeles, where he is currently gunning for re-election as Congressman for the 1st district of Pampanga.
Rain or Shine reached the semifinals for a franchise-best 9th straight time after sweeping Barangay Ginebra, 2-0 in their mini series in the quarterfinals.
The Elasto Painters will be facing the Beermen in the semifinals for the 3rd straight conference, hopeful they will prevail this time after losing to their arch nemesis in their last 2 playoff meetings.
Guiao though is confident that Rain or Shine has enough manpower to match up against a stacked-up San Miguel side, having tapped the services of the 275-pound import Pierre Henderson-Niles just 2 weeks ago, replacing the undersized Mo Charlo.
“Nagpalit kami ng import in anticipation nga of this kind of match up kasi parati naming nakakalaban ang San Miguel sa playoffs and palaging nasa disadvantage kami,” observed Guiao.
“But with an import in Hendersn-Niles, we’re hoping na tapos na yung ganung disadvantage or at least we can neutralize yung ganung weakness or remedy that weakness at the post,” he added.
The 6-foot-8 Henderson-Niles is not a heavy scorer, but his size and ability to throw his weight inside were big additions to a Rain or Shine side that does not have a natural defender in the paint. – By Richard Dy
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