Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia will bank on his second unit as four of his mainstays are still recovering from injuries with a week left before the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup unfolds on December 17.
Garcia’s reserves carried the Elasto Painters in the pocket tournament to a finiah of two wins against one loss.
Rain or Shine beat Phoenix, 95-91, and Northern Luzon Expressway, 96-89, before losing to Alaska, 110-97, last Wednesday.
“I think we are going to do better this year because we have a lot of players stepping up during the tune up games while my players who logged major minutes last season are still recovering from their injuries,” said Garcia, referring to Ed Daquioag, Jeremy King and Ronnie Matias, who displayed their prowess in the pocket tournament.
Daquioag, acquired by Rain or Shine in a trade with Meralco for Mike Tolomia, averaged 14.3 points per game in the mini tourney.
“I want them to keep their confidence going before the season starts,” Garcia added.
Combo guard Jericho Cruz (knee injury), Raymond Almazan (ankle), veteran forward Anthony Jay Washington (hamstring) and two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap (hamstring) will miss the early part of the elimination round according to Garcia.
“I still have no idea when they’ll come back. We’re very small team now and teams exploited a lot of mismatches on us. Once they return, we’ll have a big lineup,” the Rain or Shine mentor said.
The Elasto Painters will face TNT KaTropa in their opening game on December 22 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.