By TITO S. TALAO
Games Today (Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
5:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Petron Blaze
7:30 p.m. – Powerade vs Rain or Shine
Game Tomorrow (Digos City)
6:45 p.m. – B-Meg vs Air21
Manila, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters have been painting the town in rainbow colors and will continue to do so until someone ﬁ gures out how to stop them.
Four teams have fared miserably, so far, with Barangay Ginebra the latest to leave the scene of an encounter with Coach Yeng Guiao’s Gang shaking their heads and wondering what hit them.
At 7:30 p.m. tonight, the Powerade Tigers, led by Omar Sneed, get a crack at the unbeaten leader when they clash in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, needing a victory to vault away from the clutches of four teams facing possible ouster.
The Tigers are tied at third place with Ginebra on 2-2 slates behind the Elasto Painters (4-0), B-Meg (3-1) and Petron Blaze (3-1).
In the first game at 5:15 p.m., defending champion Petron battles Barako Bull, at 1-2 a team on even more dire straits than Powerade.
Bo Perasol, the Powerade coach, was at the Big Dome two nights ago and witnessed how the sheer force of Guiao’s personality left Ginebra in shambles and delivered a ego-boosting win for Rain or Shine culminating with that huge 3-point shot by star rookie Paul Lee in the dying seconds of a 93-90 thriller.
Guiao pumped a closed right fist at the direction of the Ginebra bench after Lee’s basket to punctuate the Elasto Painters’ crushing of yet another spirited challenge.
He then gave credit to where credit was due.
“He’s playing like a 10-year veteran,” said Guiao of Lee, who waved off Rain or Shine import Jamelle Cornley after a defensive switch by the Kings on a set pick left Lee against forward Rudy Hatfield instead of Ginebra import Cedric Bozeman.
“Had Rudy pressured him, the instruction from Coach Yeng was for Paul to attack,” said ROS assistant Caloy Garcia.
“He’s taking responsibilities, so we trusted him to make the right decision,” said Guiao who admitted Lee was the second option, Cornley the first.
“Coming from an inspiring win as we set a franchise record for best start, the level of confidence is really high right now,“ Guiao added. “We’re seeing a lot of maturity to our young team, and closing out games against strong teams is a big boost to the players’ morale.“
“My only concern right now is that we gave so much emotion and energy with the Ginebra game, so I’m hoping it doesn’t die down. I hope we can maintain it. We only have a day’s rest, but otherwise, we are confident.“
Five wins should earn Rain or Shine at least a playoff spot.
Rain or Shine will take on an opponent energized by the arrival of a new import who helped them win back-to-back games after starting 0-2.
After a near triple-double on his debut, a 114-97 win over Alaska, Sneed unloaded 32 points with 23 rebounds during a 110-105 victory over Talk ‘N Text, beautifully complementing star shooter Gary David’s 29.5 ppg. average.
“If we want to continue winning, we have to play hard for 48 minutes,“ said Perasol. “The mindset is we have to play in a playoff level every game.We want to treat all games as knockout games, as if our backs are against the wall.“