Rain or Shine rookie Chris Tiu became the team’s most expensive cheerleader, but that wasn’t a problem as the Elasto Painters outlasted the Petron Blaze Boosters, 101-98, in their tuneup game Thursday morning at Acropolis Gym in Mandaluyong City.
Chito Jaime and Jonathan Uyloan, two unheralded Rain or Shine players, keyed the victory for the reigning Governors’ Cup champions.
“You have double purpose why you give Jaime and Uyloan more minutes in this tuneup game,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told InterAKTV. “You’re giving them minutes because you want to preserve Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan, who are coming off a stint in the Jones Cup. The second one is to keep Jaime and Uyloan sharp going to the coming PBA season.”
Uyloan finished the game for the Elasto Painters while Jaime played a solid all-around game.
In one sequence, Jaime outrebounded 6-foot-10 Petron rookie June Mar Fajardo and scored on a putback to the delight of the Rain or Shine bench.
Tiu, who was in a practice jersey, was amazed about how his teammates performed against a talented Petron squad that played minus injured players Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz and veteran slotman Dorian Pena.
“Sabik na nga ako maglaro,” said Tiu. “But I’m happy with the way my teammates were playing. They’re all warriors out there. Kailangan talaga magpakundisyon ako, magpalakas ng katawan para makasabay ako sa kanila.”
Guiao didn’t want to gamble on fielding in Tiu, who is still recuperating from a hamstring injury.
“I know the injury is not serious, but I don’t want to risk it. We want to keep him fresh for the opening of the PBA,” said Guiao.
Guiao, who is likely to be named the Coach of the Year of the PBA Press Corps, still counts the new-look Petron squad as one of the favorites in the coming season despite Rain or Shine.
“We just worked on our team chemistry and that served as a good foundation in winning against Petron,” said Guiao, pointing out that the Boosters played minus three key players.
“We’re now seeing the future of Petron’s team.”
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