Rain or Shine confident of foiling Powerade’s Gary David
MANILA, Philippines—If Powerade is pinning its hopes mainly on Gary David in its best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Rain or Shine, then coach Yeng Guiao feels that his Elasto Painters have more than an even chance to win.
“We have tall and quick players who can match up with David,” said Guiao as he exuded confidence in the duel that begins Jan. 4 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay. “I feel really good the way we’re playing. I think we can handle Powerade in a seven-game series.”
David is the tournament’s leading scorer with an average of just under 23 points a game. He is the single biggest reason why the Tigers have made it to this stage of the conference, their first in more than seven years of futility.
But Guiao feels that former Rookie of the Year Gabe Norwood, lefty Ryan Araña and the versatile Jireh Ibanez can shut down David, or at least hold the prolific former Lyceum star to the minimum, the way they did on Oct. 9.
In that game, the Painters starved David to just 14 points in a 96-93 victory.
But while the multititled coach likes his chances, he is not about to let that seep into his players’ heads. Guiao knows full well the wringer the Tigers went through against top-ranked B-Meg Derby Ace to move closer to the championship.
“You have to respect what Powerade has achieved,” Guiao said. “They’re peaking at the right time and we have to address their strength at the point guard and wing positions.”
Aside from David, Guiao and the Painters need to control the production of rookies JV Casio and Marcio Lassiter, who were both big in the series against B-Meg.
Rain or Shine also leans on another player—super rookie Paul Lee, the second overall choice in the Draft behind Casio and who is seen by pundits as the player who could finally turn the fortunes around for the Painters.
The stocky 6-foot guard has been an all-around machine for Guiao, leading the Painters in assists and steals and is second in scoring behind three-point artist Jeff Chan.
And while Guiao is busy prepping the squad on tactics to shut down David, the Tigers’ Bo Perasol is obviously doing the same to hold down Lee and prevent the former University of the East ace from taking over the series.
The winner of the matchup will take on the winner of the Petron Blaze-Talk ‘N Text pairing in another best-of-seven series to decide the champion. The Tropang Texters and the Boosters open their series on Jan. 5.