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Battle for survival

With series knotted at 2 games apiece, Rain or Shine readies for make-or-break Game 5 vs Magnolia
/ 05:07 AM April 24, 2019
James Yap Rain or Shine Magnolia Game 2

James Yap. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Of course, Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia was disappointed after letting a golden chance on Monday slip away.

But he feels that he learned something from losing Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series with Magnolia, and vows to use that knowledge to the fullest when they break a 2-2 standoff at 7 Wednesday night at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

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“From the start of the game, they were very physical,” Garcia said. “I just told the players at halftime (of Game 4) that we just have to man up.”

Missed opportunity

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The Elasto Painters trailed big early and came out a different team for the last two periods that night, getting back in the fight only to bungle a golden chance to forge overtime when James Yap barely missed a triple at the buzzer of a 94-91 loss.

For Garcia, matching Magnolia’s take-no-prisoners ruggedness in the final frame was the very reason why they were able to move within a point in the final four seconds.

“Going into Game 5, we have to be more physical. When we were in the second half, that’s when we were able to come back,” he added.

Breakthrough performance

The Elasto Painters clawed themselves out of a 21-point hole and nearly sent the game into overtime, mostly thanks to Yap’s breakthrough scoring performance in the series.

“They knotted the series,” the decorated veteran Yap said in Filipino. “It’s now going to boil down into a best-of-three. The next game is going to be our Game 1 and I’m sure my teammates and I are on the same page.”

“It’s going to be crucial for both teams,” he said.

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Garcia echoed his star player’s remarks, adding that Magnolia’s recent victory that leveled the series does not afford the Hotshots any sort of advantage. It was just that: A win.

“It’s nothing like they gained any momentum,” Garcia said. “They just tied it. It’s not like exhaustion is catching up to us this time around. For me, while the way we finished the game is a positive thing, we still lost.”

The pair is hoping that they’re able up the ante in the next meeting.

“It’s going to be about the survival of the fittest,” Garcia said.

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