Texters, Painters clash Wednesday night
Back in the grandest stage in the PBA yet again, all that’s in Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s mind are happy thoughts.
Coming off a bruising sixth-game victory, Guiao and his Elasto Painters shoot for the Commissioner’s Cup title against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters Wednesday in the final duel of what has turned out to be an action-packed best-of-seven series.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
No team traditionally gets an advantage in a rubber match like this one, although past records tend to favor Guiao who, in his career as a coach, is undefeated in the only two times he made it to a Game 7.
Guiao won in his first do-or-die outing in the 2002 Commissioner’s Cup with Red Bull and then in the 2012 Governors’ Cup with Rain or Shine.
In contrast, the Tropang Texters are 1-5 in Game 7s, their only win coming in the 2008-09 Philippine Cup title series with Chot Reyes calling the shots. Coach Jong Uichico is 1-2 lifetime in rubber matches.
For sure, focus—or the lack of it—will play a major part tonight.
Ivan Johnson of Talk ‘N Text must be ready to play and do nothing else to help the Texters go all the way.
In Game 6 last Sunday, the volatile import scored just six points and had just six rebounds after busying himself with the physical aspect of the contest.
One of the keys that allowed Rain or Shine to take this series to the distance was Raymund Almazan and his willingness to concentrate on playing clean.
He scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds in Game 6 after doing away with the pushing and shoving that have held him back in the first five games.
Wayne Chism will also have to keep out of foul trouble so he could give the Elasto Painters a legitimate chance of coming out on top of this one.
Paul Lee of Rain or Shine and Jason Castro of Talk ‘N Text, possibly the two finest point guards in the league, are expected to offset each other, making the performances of their teammates crucial.
Ranidel de Ocampo is one key cog for the Texters. The 6-foot-5 national team mainstay has been nothing but brilliant in the series, creating matchup problems for Rain or Shine because of his range.
Jeff Chan, battling through pain in Game 6, plays a key role for the Painters like Gabe Norwood, Jireh Ibañes and big men Beau Belga and JR Quinahan.
This will be the 24th Game 7 in PBA Finals history, but this one is different compared to the others if only for the sheer physicality that has gotten even the wives of the players involved.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.