Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao feels the Elasto Painters are still in a better position in their 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals showdown with the resilient Alaska Aces despite dropping the last two matches.
But Guiao, 57, knows their room for any error is starting to get smaller, urging the Elasto Painters to finally get the job done on what they consider a “do-or-die” Game 6 on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Our 3-0 advantage, that gives us the opportunity to make four adjustments. We already made two adjustments and the results did not favor us. So we have two more adjustments and I hope we don’t need the fourth. We hope the third adjustment we will make tomorrow will be sufficient,” said Guiao at the end of their team practice on Tuesday at the NEGA gym in Greenhills, San Juan.
Foremost on the Painters’ plan is how to manage their fouls and prevent the Aces from getting more trips to the free throw line, something that they failed to do in their back-to-back losses.
“The biggest adjustment we need to make is to play good defense without fouling, without giving up too many free throws,” said Guiao, aware of the combined 66 fouls the Painters committed in their pair of setbacks that saw the Aces make 50 of their 68 attempts from the 15-foot line.
“As I’ve said, the (post-game) stats mostly will indicate that in all departments, it’s about even, except that masyado silang maraming binibigay na free throws sa Alaska,” he added.
“Sabi ko nga hindi ko alam kung ang may problema kami o ‘yung mga referees. Pero mahirap naman i-solve ‘yung problema kung referee may problema, ‘yung sa amin muna ‘yung kailangan i-solve.”
Since they still hold a one-game lead in the race-to-four affair, Guiao, who has six pro league titles tucked under his belt, including the Painters’ breakthrough victory in the 2012 PBA Governors Cup, said the pressure remains on the Aces.
“Kung ang ping-uusapan natin ‘yung pressure, sabi ko nga I wouldn’t exchanging places with them tomorrow. Mas gusto ko pa rin yung situation namin kaysa sa situation nila,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean the Painters have reason to let up and enable the Aces to force a winner-take-all showdown.
“You have to have that (do-or-die) mentality. ‘Yung sense of urgency maramdaman ng lahat,” noted Guiao.
“And then the effort also, you should not think that you can divide your effort into two more games. Kailangan isang effort na lang siya, isang laro, buhos na lang. I think that’s what they mean what they’ve said we’ll treat this as our last game,” he added. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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