PBA Commissioner’s Cup preview: Will Rain or Shine stay steady or disappoint?

Barring injuries, Rain or Shine looks set for another playoff appearance in the upcoming Commissioner’s Cup. However, the team doesn’t want a repeat performance of last conference, where they got the boot early in the quarterfinals.

Ginebra dispatched Caloy Garcia’s wards in two games behind monster games from Japeth Aguilar and the guards, who torched the Elasto Painters from both inside and out. Those two games showed a common pattern to their problems; they were a top-three team in blocks (5.0) but allowed a robust 32.9 percent shooting clip from downtown (fourth-worst).

Rain or Shine’s frontcourt is kinda thin, with Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga being the only effective bigs for the team. This may have forced the team’s guards to help down low, leaving shooters open in the process. In all their losses, the Elasto Painters were forced to pick their poison – and they weren’t too effective in doing so.

To compensate for their size problems, Rain or Shine brought in former Asian Basketball League (ABL) best import Reggie Johnson, a 6-foot-10 big who’ll definitely match up well against opposing big men. Having that steady presence in the paint will also prompt guards to stay home on perimeter threats.

Johnson’s no stranger to winning, too. He won a title with the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL two years ago; bringing that championship pedigree will further help the team’s cause.

Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi will continue to figure as the lead orchestrators on offense. Tiu is coming off a red-hot All-Filipino campaign where he led the team in points (13.3), dimes (4.4) and three-point percentage (47.1) while holding one of the league’s best player efficiency (22.3) and offensive ratings (121.1). Ahanmisi, on the other hand, averaged 12.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals on 35.7 percent shooting from downtown.

Only time will tell, though, if Johnson is the answer to the size deficit that they experienced in the recent conference. Tiu, Ahanmisi and the rest of the squad staying steady on offense (32.9 percent from downtown, second) isn’t also a sure thing, but one can hope, right?