With Paul Lee out of the series, B-MEG is playing against a Rain or Shine squad that is missing its best local player.
But for former Purefoods franchise stars Alvin Patrimonio and Jojo Lastimosa, that should make the Llamados even more wary of the dangerous Elasto Painters squad.
The two PBA legends know whereof they speak. In 1990, they led Purefoods to the finals of the All-Filipino Conference against Presto, whose star player Allan Caidic got injured in the series.
The Tivolis coach Jimmy Mariano decided to play minus their ace gunner in the deciding Game Seven of the series. But instead of falling apart, Presto pulled off a monumental upset behind its veteran crew.
“They should learn from us in that game,” said Lastimosa. “We lost Game Seven of the series because of the brilliant game of Arnie Tuadles.”
Patrimonio, who now serves as team manager of B-MEG, said he will try to impart the history lesson on the team.
“Sasabihan ko sila about doon sa nangyari sa amin before,” said the four-time PBA Most Valuable Player. “Nagulat kami noon sa Presto. We thought we had a better team to win the All-Filipino championship.”
Lastimosa said Lee’s absence, at least for Game Three, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Elasto Painters because it made them less predictable — which was how Presto defeated Purefoods in 1990.
“Gumanda pa nga ang ball movement nila nung nawala si Paul Lee because they don’t run the pick and roll offense anymore,” said Lastimosa.
But he added that there are stark differences between Presto and Rain or Shine. “Allan was the main man at that time, although he was surrounded by veteran teammates. Paul, on the other hand, is the floor leader, pero sa Rain or Shine, well-scattered naman sila sa offensive production.”
For Patrimonio, it came as no surprise that Rain or Shine came out with fire in their bellies for Game Three.
“They want to prove something. They want to prove that this is their time and they can do that even without Paul Lee,” said Patrimonio, who hopes his players can learn their history lesson in time to come back from a 2-1 series deficit.
» Chot Reyes announces Gilas Pilipinas pool, adds Slaughter, Lee, Lassiter, Dillinger to core
» San Mig Coffee-Rain or Shine Game Six sets new ratings record as TV5 trumps ABS, GMA anew
» PBA fines Rain or Shine P2 million for near-walkout in Game Six