Streaking Rain or Shine moved a step closer towards the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown behind a 112-108 victory over Alaska on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
But Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao remained cautious, knowing a frightening experience endured by the Aces in a not-so-distant past could haunt them if things go in disarray.
“We have one foot inside the door. But again, it has happened before and it can happen again,” said Guiao, 57, referring to Alaska’s stunning meltdown from a 3-0 series lead against powerhouse San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Cup finals last February.
The Beermen went on to win the next four game to complete the unprecedented comeback in the finals in pro league history.
“San Miguel was down 0-3 but they still won the championship. That’s going to be what’s in our mind. We don’t want to be in that position where we will lose a three-game lead,” added Guiao. We’ll do everything we can to finish this on Friday.”
The Painters led by as many as 27 points but still needed to survive some anxious moments late against the hard-fighting Aces, who continued to give their all despite missing three vital cogs in playmaker JVee Casio, bruiser Vic Manuel and back-up center Eric Menk due to various sorts of injuries.
Asked what the Painters need to do in order to finish off the Aces in Game 4 and claim their second pro league title in franchise history since the 2012 Governors Cup, Guiao said: “It’s just mental focus—being able to execute our game plan.”
“All throughout this series, we’re able to handle their press well. We have the materials to beat their press and we’ve been doing that thoughout the series,” he added.
Guiao, who is also seeking to claim his fourth Commissioner’s Cup crown and seventh overall in the pro league, also urged the Painters to stay consistent defensively and keep control of the game.
“We played generally good defense throughout the series. If we can be consistent with that defense and keep the pace. Alaska is a fast team but I feel, because our guard rotation is deeper, we can sustain a little bit more than they can. So consistent defense and keeping the game fast is going to be the key on Friday,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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