Alaska coach Alex Compton has nothing but respect for Rain or Shine and its veteran mentor Yeng Guiao.
The American admitted that the Aces are in some ways, the underdogs in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals simply because of Guiao’s vast coaching experience and the kind of confidence the Elasto Painters have this season.
“Rain or Shine is a different team. They are sort of a model in a sense for us in Alaska because when I took over, I took in a lot of what they do,” Compton shared, moments after Alaska nipped Meralco, 76-70 on Wednesday to win their semifinal series, 3-2.
“They are playing so well. They are so deep and they are playing with great confidence because coach Yeng instills such confidence in his players. You can see it.”
Compton added that while people tend to talk more about San Miguel and how it has dominated the league in 3 of the last 4 conferences, the Alaska coach reiterated that one just can’t discount Rain or Shine because of the way it manhandled San Miguel in their own semifinal series.
“San Miguel is awesome. They (Elasto Painters) are the only team that was able to beat them (Beermen) in a series.” said Compton, who has yet to win a championship in his 1st 3 Finals trips.
“No one has beaten them (Beermen) in a series since the start of the 2014-15- season so I think that makes a statement,” he added.
“We got close (to beating San Miguel in previous Finals series), but we weren’t good enough and Rain or Shine did it 3 times.”
Rain or Shine has a wide-bodied import in Pierre Henderson-Niles, who was incidentally Alaska import Robert Dozier’s college teammate back in Memphis.
But Compton believes the dynamics will be different compared to the strategy they had in the semifinals against Meralco’s big import Arinze Onuaku.
“Rain or Shine always runs their system and they play their guys within the system,” noted the 42-year-old Compton.
“And if we all we think about is doubling Niles and not respect the other (Rain or Shine) players, we are in trouble,” he said. “So it’s a really different series that way.”
Game 1 of the Finals will start on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – By Richard Dy
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