Rain or Shine goes for 3-1 lead vs B-Meg todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER practically giving up with still more than a quarter left on Friday, Tim Cone certainly left a bad taste in the mouth as far as B-Meg’s legions of fans are concerned.
Cone recalled his superstars and his import to the bench at the time Rain or Shine broke away in Game 3, saying that he wanted to preserve them for the bigger games ahead and adding that “I cannot worry about the fans.”
Whether that move to supposedly “freshen up” Cone’s stars will work is the key factor in today’s Game 4 when the heavily favored Llamados try to avoid dropping into a 1-3 hole by undermanned Rain or Shine in their PBA Governors Cup title series at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I’m a big picture thinker. This (move of benching James Yap and Co.) is not about winning a game, but a series,” Cone said. “That was a better strategy at this point. I was basically trying to steal some rest for those guys.”
But Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao believes that it would have still been a victory for his Elasto Painters even if the B-Meg superstars were utilized in the stretch.
Paul Lee, the super Rain or Shine rookie, will sit out a second straight game because of a dislocated left shoulder. Guiao said Lee’s presence on the bench helped fire up the Painters in Game 3 as they pursued their quest for a first-ever league title.
“We played as hard as we could tonight,” Guiao said after the 93-84 Game 3 win. “Without Paul (Lee), we thought that the biggest compliment we could do was play for him. He helped us get here.”
For the league, Cone’s move last Friday was the exact opposite of its avowed goal to please the fans, first and foremost.
“I did it if I knew we couldn’t win,” Cone explained of the third quarter exodus to the bench. “That group (Yap and Co.) didn’t have the requisite energy to get us back in the game. We are just worn out.”
“My job is to win championships for this organization and not to make the crowd happy,” he continued. “I love the fans. Maybe we can make them happy on Sunday (today).”
Yap had just seven points in just over two quarters of exposure, PJ Simon finished with just four in 24 minutes and Marcus Blakely had just 13 markers in 35 minutes.
What was puzzling was that Cone put in rookie Val Acuna with just over four minutes left and the game still in the balance. It was a very difficult situation that Acuna found himself in, as he was asked to take three triple tries with only one attempt managing to hit the rim.