E-Painters, Aces try to stay perfect | Inquirer Sports
PBA

E-Painters, Aces try to stay perfect

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 01:59 AM March 29, 2017

Rain or Shine is off to a fine start in defending its PBA Commissioner’s Cup title, but despite a 3-0 card, coach Caloy Garcia emphasized the need to improve, and improve as quickly as they can.

Facing their sternest test yet when they clash with co-leader Meralco on Wednesday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Garcia wants to see better execution from his Elasto Painters if they want to survive the other heavyweights coming their way in the next few weeks.

The Painters have scraped past their first three foes and, without a doubt, will be facing their worthiest adversaries in the Bolts in the 7 p.m. contest.

Garcia, though, doesn’t want any of that, offering his respect to their first three victims in order to keep his wards focused as they try to stay unscathed.

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“No, I don’t think we played weak teams,” Garcia said Tuesday after preparing his Painters to take on Alex Stepheson and the recharged Bolts. “We treat all of our opponents with respect and we know that all of them are strong.”

Meralco, with Stepheson plugging the Bolts’ hole in the middle, is flaunting fearsome form and is given an even chance against Rain or Shine despite a local roster that is not as deep as what the Painters have.

“We won by close margins because the team has the tendency to relax. There are just instances when they stop playing,” he said. “We can’t afford to do that against Meralco.”

Garcia will be relying on his local crew to try and limit the contributions of Stepheson, whom he believes is not a great scorer but is able to give Meralco several opportunities on offense with his workmanlike attitude in the shaded lane.

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“We need to work very hard to take him out of his sweet spot,” Garcia said of Stepheson, who has no qualms playing second fiddle on offense to his local cast.

“That’s what he gives Meralco, those extra possessions because of his offensive rebounds,” Garcia went on. “We need to control that and we prepared the team for that.”

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Shawn Taggart is trying to do it all for the Painters, but Garcia wants him to play defense more instead of taking it easy in stretches for fear of falling into foul trouble.

Meanwhile, Alaska tries to extend its unbeaten start to three as the Aces put Mahindra and James White to the test in the 4:15 p.m. game.

Alaska, the 2013 champion here, is also off to a hot start after finding a gem in Cory Jefferson, a literal 11th hour recruit after deals with its first two picks as import didn’t work out.

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“He seems to be a perfect fit for us,” coach Alex Compton said of Jefferson.

TAGS: Caloy Garcia, Meralco, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Rain or Shine

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