SOMETIMES, a positive start is what a team needs.
Following its impressive come-from-behind Game 1 victory, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is feeling good about the state of his Painters as they go for a commanding 2-0 lead in the resumption of their best-of-five semifinal series against San Miguel Beer in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
Game 2 is scheduled today at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Rain or Shine aiming for another win for a tighter grip on the series, even as the Beermen are looking to use their championship muscles in hopes of evening things out.
In Game 1, San Miguel Beer led through the first three quarters, before Rain or Shine showed tough resistance to eventually snatch the game away, 98-94, in crunch time.
Guiao admitted that with the way the opening game was going, he nearly felt that his team was finished for the night. But his wards fought back to reverse the tide.
“It’s just one of those comebacks that will linger in my memory,” he said. “I almost gave up on the guys, but the guys didn’t give up on me. They proved their coach wrong.”
Following heartbreaking campaigns against San Miguel in their previous encounters in the semis these past two conferences, Guiao feels like his team has more chance now of slaying down the Beermen.
“We’re looking forward to this series that we might win this time around,” Guiao said.
Rookie guard Maverick Ahanmisi stepped his game up, scoring 23 points along with nine rebounds and four assists to help Rain or Shine.
Guiao was also proud that his team not only pulled out the victory following a tumultuous start, but also pull it out despite solid performances from San Miguel stars Tyler Wilkerson and June Mar Fajardo, who combined for 63 points.
“Their import was playing great, June Mar was playing great and yet, we’re able to pullout that win. It’s a credit to the character of the team,” Guiao added.
A 2-0 lead will certainly give Rain or Shine a nice series lead but expect San Miguel to do everything to avoid that and square things up.
Meanwhile, Alaska and Meralco are currently going at it as of this writing in Game 1 of their own best-of-five semis tussle.
(Semis, Game 2 – Smart Araneta Coliseum):
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs. San Miguel