Painters snap four-game skid with new import and Guiao believes all is not lost in playoff push if team puts heart into it
Rain or Shine can now plot its mission of trying to get in the thick of the quarterfinal race after finally nailing a first victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday.
“We have to recommit ourselves in these last six games [of the eliminations],” Guiao said after his Elasto Painters carved out a 122-117 victory over the Blackwater Bossing at Mall of Asia Arena with new import Greg Smith II.
“There’s still a chance. As long as we can make the playoffs, as long as you’re there and able to play, maybe something can happen,” added Guiao as Rain or Shine arrested a 0-4 start which the veteran mentor said could have been avoided.
Guiao’s charges opened the season-ending conference with defeats to Meralco, TNT, Converge and Barangay Ginebra—teams at the upper tier of the standings and pre-tournament rankings.
Two of those games—opposite TNT and Ginebra—could have resulted in wins but Rain or Shine wasn’t able to find a finishing kick.
Those setbacks prompted the Elasto Painters management to send home the high-scoring Michael Qualls and brought in Smith, who more than six years ago was supposed to reinforce the same squad.
Smith failed to make the height limit in the 2016 Governors’ Cup, but got the nod this time after the league increased the cap by an inch from 6-foot-5.
“They said that they’re 0-4, I want to do my best to try and go help the team win as much as possible,” said Smith, who finished with 38 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Guiao gave Smith his plaudits as Rain or Shine pins its hopes on its new reinforcement to mesh well with the locals, something the team was really looking for when Qualls was around.
Against Blackwater, Guiao’s locals came in and put up numbers with Santi Santillan registering 16 points and seven rebounds, energy guy Nick Demusis putting up a career-high 12 points with five rebounds and solid a presence on defense.
“We all know that imports here have to produce the numbers,” said Guiao. “But I also told him (Smith) that it would be easier for us to win games if we involve the locals.
“Our locals can score, we know those guys can make contributions on offense, so we’re getting there. I think this is a good start.”
Rain or Shine also overcame a 40-point performance from Blackwater import Troy Williams, but will face another big-time scorer in Jordan Williams as Terrafirma awaits them on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Blackwater suffered another defeat despite leading by as many as 10 and eight at the end of the third quarter, eventually falling to 1-5 with its fourth straight loss. INQ