Rain or Shine locals looking to step up to give McKines a boost
On the brink of elimination, the bigggst challenge is on the locals to step up as the Rain or Shine Elastopainters try to live another day in its best-of-5 semifinals series against San Miguel.
McKines has been the lone bright spot in the offense for Rain or Shine after finished with 39 points in Game 3 on Monday night but he said he did not get enough touches inside.
And it seems like the whole Elastopainters have also been stymied by the zone defense employed by San Miguel.
“Kailangan naming humanap ng paraan sa zone kasi may times pa rin na di kumo-connect yung tira namin sa labas,” said Paul Lee. “Kailangan talaga naming laruin yung zone. Yung two games na natalo kami, sa zone eh.”
(We need to find a way against their zone because there are still times where our outside shots won’t fall. We need to play through their zone because in the two games that we lost, it’s against their zone.)
Gabe Norwood, however, was quick to take the blame, saying that they should have given McKines the ball more inside when their shots were not connecting.
“That’s on us,” he said. “I feel bad for Wendell. He got off to a good start. But we kind of took the ball out of his hands ourselves.”
“We settled for threes and that’s what they want us to take. At the same time, we don’t have to take what they’re giving us. We can force the issue and make plays.”
The national team member admitted that it was a lapse of judgment from the locals fpr giving McKines the ball more, as the reinforcement has been a dominant force in the paint throughout the game, not to mention him being defended by a foul-troubled June Mar Fajardo.
“A couple of times, he did get it inside and got an easy basket. That’s on us to be smarter and realize that this guy is shooting eighty percent from the field and we’ll take our chances with him,” said Norwood. “We didn’t make them pay.”
Rain or Shine did make a late rally behind those perimeter shots from Lee and Norwood, but the comeback bid ultimately fell in the end as San Miguel made big plays, capped by a crucial Marcio Lassiter jumper in the final minute.
With Rain or Shine’s back against the wall, Lee, though, still believes that the E-Painters have all the makings of pulling a comeback, just like what they did in last year’s Governors’ Cup where they beat Alaska, 3-2, on their way to a Finals date with eventual champs San Mig Coffee.
“Hindi ito yung first time na nasa sitwasyon kami na ganto,” said the Tondo native. “Nangyari na rin ito sa Alaska, pero nakabalik kami at nanalo pa sa series. Focus lang kami sa next game. Kailangan lang wag kami masira at magkawatak-watak. Focus lang talaga sa next game.”
(This is not the first time that we’re in this situation. It happened before against Alaska, but we’re able to comeback and even win the series. We just have to focus in our next game, pull through, and stay together. We just really need to focus.)