For all intents and purposes, Yeng Guiao considers this game as the rubber match.
Guiao and his gritty Rain or Shine squad clash with San Mig Coffee in Game 6 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series, and the outspoken coach is making no bones about the need to win this one or risk blowing everything they’ve worked hard for.
“We have to have that sense of urgency which we didn’t have in our last game,” Guiao said. “I did say that we have three chances, but it doesn’t mean we have to use all those chances. We have to consider this one as our last chance to make the Finals.”
Game time is 6:45 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay and the Elasto Painters, with a 3-2 series lead, can wrap it all up and advance to a second straight Finals appearance against either Talk ‘N Text or Alaska.
The Tropang Texters, who are seeking to become the first team to win this event three straight seasons, also shoot for the jugular tomorrow at 6:45 p.m. at Cuneta Astrodome.
The Mixers will come into Game 6 with momentum on their side, winning the fifth game handily even with the crack James Yap sitting on the bench for most of the final two periods because of five fouls.
And Guiao acknowledges this.
“They (Mixers) have become efficient when shooting to the basket against our small frontline,” Guiao said. “We’re not concerned with (James) Yap or (PJ) Simon, we have guys who can play defense on them. We’re having difficulty adjusting to their size and speed, which they’ve exploited with (Joe) Devance and (Marc) Pingris.”
Devance scored 20 points and Pingris had 18 and 10 rebounds in a 79-67 Game 5 win where only Larry Rodriguez was able to score in twin digits for the badly outclassed Painters.
Yap had just two points in that win.
This is the second straight conference that both squads are tangling in a series, and San Mig’s Tim Cone is hoping that, as in the Governors’ Cup Finals last season, they could forge a Game 7 despite falling behind 1-3 both times.
“We have to stay focused and committed to the task at hand,” Cone said. “We know Rain or Shine will play a better game this time around, so we’ll have to play at a much higher level as well.”
Paul Lee has been absent for the Painters the last two games, and Gabe Norwood, too. And both need to come out thinking that they would carry the fight for Rain or Shine.