Rain or Shine will be gunning for a 2-0 lead when it takes on Alaska at 5 p.m. today in Game 2 of the best-of-seven finals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off a 105-97 win against the Aces on Friday, Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao admonished his wards not to be complacent.
“We still need three more wins after winning the first game, but I’m sure Alaska will be back,” said Guiao. “Everybody knows we want a fast game, I’m sure they will play tremendous defense in our upcoming game tomorrow [Sunday].”
“In Game 1, I think we have good numbers with our fast break points,” he added. “If we can beat their pressure-defense again, it’s going to be good. I’ am very happy, am very excited about Paul Lee’s performance. It’s going to be a lot closer next game, but I hope I’m wrong.”
Rain or Shine’s tight defense limited Alaska’s shooting from beyond the arc to only 10-of-29 and in the field 39-of-80. The Elasto Painters, on the other hand, shot 14-of-27 in the three-point zone and scored 42-of-87 in the field.
Elasto Painters’ combo guard Paul Lee posted 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the three-point area and 7-of-12 in the field. Former Adamson guard Jericho Cruz had a stellar performance in Game 1 finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
“I’m just hoping we sustain this performance. We just have to continue what we’re doing and we should not challenge their [Alaska] pressure-defense especially if there’s double teaming coming,” said the former University of the East shooting guard, Lee.
Despite a low output of six points, 13 rebounds, three steals and a block in the previous game, import Pierre Henderson-Niles has a crucial role of fortifying Rain or Shine’s defense in today’s game.
Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, rookie Maverick Ahanmisi, Jireh Ibañez, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Jewel Ponferada and JR Quiñahan are also expected to step up for the Elasto Painters today.
“You make mistakes, they’ll make you pay. We have to avoid making mistakes. We didn’t start sharp in Game 1. We have to make the necessary stops in Game 2,” said Alaska’s coach Alex Compton.
Though Alaska import Robert Dozier finished with a huge 41 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, his teammates failed to augment his ouput for them to win.
“This is only our first game and we can still adjust to what they’re doing,” said Calvin Abueva, who notched nine points on 4-of-13 shooting in the field plus 10 rebounds. Jazul was limited to 1-of-5 shooting for five points.
“We’ll try to get better and try to play for four quarters,” said the former Best Import Dozier.
Chris Banchero, Tony Dela Cruz, Nonoy Baclao, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros, Cyrus Baguio, Rome Dela Rosa and Chris Exciminiano are also expected to provide Alaska with crucial firepower.
The Aces will be playing without key players Jayvee Casio, Vic Manuel and big man Eric Menk that are all nursing injuries.