In the Philippine Cup semis, Yeng Guiao and his Rain or Shine Elasto Painters suffered a tough setback against the Powerade Tigers that cost them what could have been their first finals appearance in franchise history. They insist, though, that they aren’t bitter about the loss.
Instead, the Elasto Painters are using that experience as a source of strength and inspiration.
The team is now sitting on top of the standings in the PBA Governors Cup with a 7-1 record and is already assured of a semifinals berth.
“Just like Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat, they used their finals setback against the Dallas Mavericks as motivation and inspiration. We’re doing the same as well with the experience we had with Powerade,” Guiao said.
Guiao believes his team has matured because of its previous experience.
“You can see it in how the way the team plays,” said Guiao. “Everyone is doing their share.”
From young rookie Paul Lee, who has emerged as the acknowledged leader of the squad, to resident star Gabe Norwood to the vastly-improving crop of players like Jeff Chan, Beau Belga and Jervy Cruz, the Elasto Painters are playing like a team on a mission.
Import Jamelle Cornley, a silent yet effective reinforcement, has proven himself to be the right fit for the squad as well.
There was one reported incident between him and Guiao, who’s not afraid to motivate his players by unleashing his temper, where the two had a heated discussion after the game. But all seems well now as the Elasto Painters are back on winning track.
“Dalawang bagay lang naman yun. It’s either he will take it or he will go home,” said Guiao. “But I’m sure he got the message and everything seems OK now. Maraming beses na rin naman akong may mga nakasagutan na players.”
“Jamelle proved that he’s the type of import that we need. He’s been averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds, but the most important thing is, he was able to expose our local players to do their share and that’s why we’re winning. I don’t think our team will be as effective if we have an import like Zach Graham (of Air 21), who can score 40 or 50, on our squad,” he added.
Not comfortable being on top
Guiao is happy his team leads the pack with only a game left in the elimination round.
But he admitted he’s not comfortable with his team’s lofty position at the moment.
“When you’re leading, everybody’s after you. But we’re happy anyway. We’re happy with how the team has matured, especially in winning tight games,” added Guiao.
The team, though, should be more comfortable in its next game when it welcomes back the returning Lee, who missed his team’s previous game due to a dislocated left shoulder.
“Hindi naman serious yung injury niya, but we have to rest it. It could worsen kung pipilitin namin ilaro, so we rested him. But he will be back in our next game,” said Guiao.
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