Belga, coach say close games will benefit Rain or Shine in playoffs
Rain or Shine has won three of its four victories in the PBA Philippine Cup in nail-biting fashion. But as uncertainty continues to hover over the bubble environment with yet another game canceled, coach Caloy Garcia is not one to complain.
“It’s hard that we’ve had multiple games that were close,” he told reporters here after a thrilling 85-82 overtime victory over Barangay Ginebra at Angeles University Foundation late Tuesday night.
“But those could also bring out the best in (us),” he added.
And wins in the pocket mean more every time a schedule gets scrapped, which is what happened Wednesday when the PBA postponed Blackwater’s return to action for another game.
It was the second time that an Elite game has been moved on the heels of what eventually turned out to be a “false positive” COVID-19 test on one of its players.
Blackwater was supposed to face Magnolia in Wednesday’s opener.
“The game between Magnolia Hotshots and Blackwater Elite at 4 p.m. today is canceled pending IATF
approval,” the league said in a statement.
Rain or Shine benefited from one of those canceled Blackwater games. The Painters were supposed to face the Elite and the postponement gave the team additional rest, which Belga said was crucial against Ginebra.
“That was an advantage, having our game canceled,” Belga said. “We got to rest while Ginebra had a tough match against Magnolia. I’m sure even they won’t deny that fatigue really factored into the match.”
In light of that cancellation, winning games has become more important as teams jostle for one of the top
four spots at the end of the elimination round.
Beau Belga, one of the heroes for the Elasto Painters against Barangay Ginebra, echoed that sentiment, saying wins matter no matter how it is achieved. Belga, in fact, added that close games actually benefit Rain or Shine, which is in contention for a deep run in the playoffs.
“It’s in close games where the really tough teams—the ones who could execute and have better IQ—survive,” he said.
“It’s where teams learn composure.”
In Rain or Shine’s four wins, three were settled by three points or less. Even their lone loss—against Alaska—was a close one, and could have gone the other way if not for Rey Nambatac’s sorry miss at the buzzer.
The only comfortable win Rain or Shine had was against Terrafirma, and Belga does not even consider that win a blowout; nine-point wins do not fit his standards of a rout.
Belga says these close games are essential for the development of Rain or Shine’s young guns.
And if the team’s earlier wins were of any indication, the Painters are on the right track.
“It wasn’t just the veterans who were winning it for us. Previously, it was Adrian (Wong). Then Javee (Mocon). Then Rey. They’re all youngsters in this league.”
“We know we’ll be needing contributions from everyone,” he added.
“The beautiful thing about this is that we all survived those close games. That’s what we need in the long run. You can’t always win via blowouts during the playoffs,” Belga said
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.