Rain or Shine is keen on finishing San Miguel Beer in Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum at 5 p.m. today.
The Elasto Painters, under the tutelage of multi-awarded coach Yeng Guiao, have pushed the back-to-back Philippine Cup champions Beermen to the brink of elimination after winning the first two matches last week.
But Guiao’s wards failed to get the job done in Game 3 losing to San Miguel Beer 98-104 at the Philsports Arena.
“We just postponed our trip to the finals last Thursday but I believe we can still get there. My feeling is we’ll still get there in a while,” Guiao told reporters. “It is too ambitious [for us]to sweep San Miguel [Beer]. We will be ready tomorrow [today].”
Rain or Shine will lean anew on import Pierre Henderson-Niles with the support of local players Jeff Chan, Jericho Cruz, Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, rookie Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood.
“It is going to be a tough Game 4 and we’re hoping we do our best to win that game,” said the Elasto Painters shooting guard Cruz, who scored 25 points in Game 3. “It doesn’t matter if I score only one point. What important is the win.”
“San Miguel Beer is a good team and they moved the ball very well without import,” said Ahanmisi. “We just have to get back attacking them on the zone. We need to regroup.”
Rain or Shine won Game 1 (98-94) and Game 2 (98-96). The Elasto Painters finished third during the elimination with a 7-4 win-loss record.
The Beermen played without an import in Game 3 after San Miguel Beer fired Tyler Wilkerson for misbehavior. San Miguel Beer might field the 6’3 Arizona Reid in Game 4.
“What I want from them is just play their game,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria. “Hard to win three straight games and we’re lucky we’ve won in Game 3. I’m hoping that victory will be a rallying point for us. Just one game at a time.”
Reid led San Miguel Beer last year in winning the Governor’s Cup. Besides Reid, center June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Ronald Tubid and Gary David are expected to step up in the do-or-die game.
“I’m hoping when AZ (Reid) plays on Sunday, it is going to be positive for our part. I’m hoping we use the last conference motivation against Alaska,” said Santos, who had 18 points in Game 3. “We just have to believe that we can still do it.”
During the Philippine Cup finals, San Miguel Beer suffered a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series but still succeeded to become the first team in PBA history to make a comeback winning four straight games to claim the crown.