Rain or Shine moves up after notching second win, but Garcia remains wary
Rain or Shine needed just a strong second quarter to hold off Terrafirma for tor its second straight victory in the PBA Philippine Cup.
But Friday night’s 91-82 victory at Angeles University Foundation gym hardly gave Elasto Painters coach Caloy Garcia a reprieve from his bubble anxieties.
“As of now, we’re just thinking of how we could still get better,” he told the Inquirer after the match.
Rain or Shine was certainly humming far better than it was in a tight 87-83 victory over defending champion San Miguel Beer last Tuesday.
Rey Nambatac, who shot terribly before his clutch trey against San Miguel, had a team-best 19 points. Gabe Norwood, who wasn’t that much of a presence offensively, added 14 more, tying the output of Javee Mocon and Beau Belga.
“I was just hoping to bounce back from a bad game against San Miguel,” said Nambatac, the former Letran star.
But Garcia feels he can squeeze more from his team given enough time to get his players in the right condition—but he is as aware, too, that other teams are gunning for the same goal.
“We came [into the bubble] in better shape as expected. As of now, most teams are still trying to get back into that game shape. We’re lucky that we’re 2-0 now, but we can’t be complacent about it,” he said.
Terrafirma got another huge game from CJ Perez, who finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five steals and two blocks. But last year’s top rookie also held his squad back with six turnovers and a 0-of-5 clip from beyond the arc. Perez also missed half of his 12 free throws.
Juami Tiongson chipped in 15 more for the Dyip, who also drew twin figures off the bench from rookie Roosevelt Adams (10) and Glenn Khobuntin (12) coming off the bench.
The Dyip crashed into an early 0-2 ditch and will need to regroup quickly. They next face the Beermen on Monday.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine zoomed to a share of the early lead in the compressed tournament and Garcia hopes to maximize his blend of youth and experience.
“In every game, there’s a different story. For me, it’s just trying to get the right mixture each time,” Garcia said.
The Elasto Painters will gun for a third straight win on Sunday when they tangle with winless NorthPort, who are struggling to find firepower with gunner Robert Bolick still decommissioned by injury.
And even then, Garcia is not taking any chances.
“Coming into the bubble, I already told probably most media that one of the top teams for me is NorthPort because Bolick was supposed to [return from injury]. Right now they’re struggling but knowing coach Pido, he will find ways to win. We just have to try to find ways [to] beat him,” said Garcia.