Rain or Shine will be aiming for a four-game sweep when it takes on Alaska at 7 p.m. tonight in Game 4 of the best-of-seven finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters are just one win away from their second overall title since joining the league in 2006. The last time Rain or Shine won the championship was in 2012 when it defeated B-Meg Llamados in Game 7 of the Governor’s Cup.
The Elasto Painters beat the Aces in Game 3, 112-108.
“I do not want to put pressure on the guys. I do not want to guarantee it [winning a title]. I will probably guarantee it tomorrow [Friday]. But we have to finish this one on Friday in order for us to make a rest,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“We have one foot inside the door, but what happened last conference could also happen again,” added Guiao, referring to back-to-back champion San Miguel Beer’s historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit against Alaska in the Philippine Cup finals.
“We’ll do everything to finish this on Friday. We have to play fast and sustain our defense. Our defense is good in this series. San Miguel [Beer] was down 0-3 but still won the championship and we really don’t like to be in a position where we will lose a three-game advantage in the series,” said Guiao.
Rain or Shine will rely on import Pierre Henderson-Niles, guard Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jericho Cruz, Raymond Almazan, Jay-R Quiñahan, Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, guard Chris Tiu, Jewel Ponferda, and Maverick Ahanmisi in its attempt to pull off a sweep.
“Our confidence level is very high right now and we cannot afford to give them a chance [to win in Game 4],” said Chan. “Hopefully, we stay consistent on Friday to win the series.”
Alaska coach Alex Compton warns the Rain or Shine not to expect an easy game, “Expect us to play a lot harder by playing to be more like that team that tries to comeback there in the end. We just have to play with more energy to remain alive [in the series].”
“We really need to play defense and challenge them especially their pick-and-roll and ball screen,” said Alaska guard RJ Jazul, who finished with 24 points in Game 2. “I believe we can still make it but we have to play extra defense.”
Besides Jazul, import Robert Dozier, Calvin Abueva, guard Chris Banchero, center Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros, Chris Exciminiano, Tony Dela Cruz and Nonoy Baclao are expected to step up for Alaska in Game 4.