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Painters eye huge 3-1 lead vs Mixers


KELLY Williams (left) of Talk ‘N Text loses the ball against the defense of Alaska’s Sonny Thoss. The teams were playing at press time. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Rain or Shine tries to put a foot in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals today when the Elasto Painters battle the San Mig Coffee Mixers for a 3-1 lead in their Final Four series at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Gametime is 6:45 p.m. with the odds favoring the Painters, who will be taking the momentum of a 98-72 victory on Tuesday into Game 4.

The Painters played their best two nights after displaying their worst, overwhelming the Mixers with a relentless display on both ends to wrest momentum in the series.

“Next game will be crucial,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told reporters after the Game 3 win. “I think if we can go 3-1 up, we should be able to put a foot in the Finals.

“It will be big for us, and it will be big for them (Mixers),” he continued. “I think we are fresher than they are. As the series goes longer, we should be able to take advantage of our deeper rotation.”

There’s no question that the Painters are the fresher squad in the series, with no player in their rotation averaging more than 28 minutes in the series, compared to San Mig Coffee, which has five playing at a rate of 33 a game.

Only eight players from San Mig are averaging twin digits in playing time for coach Tim Cone, while Guiao is shuffling at least 12 men a game—and all of them are norming at least 12 minutes a contest.

In fact, Paul Lee, last year’s top rookie who started playing only in the final elimination round assignment for the Painters, is not even playing beyond 24 minutes an outing.

Rain or Shine-San Mig is a reprisal of the Governors’ Cup title series last season which the Painters won in seven games for their breakthrough title.

Guiao also proved that they could stop any gunner on the floor  as evidenced by the near-shutout they did on former two-time MVP James Yap.

After draining 34 points built around seven triples in Game 2, Yap hit just a triple and was 1-of-11 from the floor to finish with six points in 30 minutes.

“I felt we have more stoppers than they have shooters,” Guiao said.

The winner of this series will advance to face the victor of the Talk ‘N Text-Alaska semifinal series.

The Tropang Texters, seeking to become the first team in 30 years to win the all-Filipino conference three straight seasons, and the Aces were still playing to break a 1-1 tie at presstime.

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Tags: Basketball , PBA Philippine Cup , Rain or Shine , San Mig Coffee Mixers

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