(Philsports Arena, Pasig City)
4:15 p.m. – TNT Ka Tropa vs Alaska
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs NLEX
Five days after losing to Paul Lee and the Star Hotshots, Rain or Shine hopes to regain its winning form when it clashes with an NLEX squad now handled by former coach Yeng Guiao in the PBA Philippine Cup today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The two teams square off for the first time this season after the veteran Guiao ended his six-year tenure as coach of the Elasto Painters, a team he led to two championships.
While the decision to separate was agreed upon amicably, RoS were left surprised since the ‘breakup’ happened after the team had won its second championship in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Now on opposite sides, Guiao looks to lead NLEX to a win and put a stop on an alarming four-game losing skid against an RoS side that is hoping to bounce back from a recent 99-91 defeat to Star, powered by former ace guard Lee, a member of the team’s two title campaigns.
The matchup is scheduled at 7 p.m., after the 4:15 game of TNT KaTropa and Alaska – currently tied for third to seventh spots with GlobalPort, RoS and Star, all with 3-2 cards.
According to Guiao, he is more concerned about his team’s performance, considering that they have faltered in the last four games after winning its season opener against Alaska (99-97).
For him, this is nothing new.
“This is just another game,” said Guiao. “That’s the kind of approach, that’s the mentality that I have for this game. Take the game on its own merits and not on my history with Rain or Shine.”
He added: “I don’t bear any grudges with them and I know very well that they don’t have any issues with me. We separated very amicably. I spent a lot of good years with them and I still consider them my friends.
“So for me, I don’t treat this game as a revenge or grudge match. I just want to be able to focus on the game, and not on the side issue. I also approach this game as a chance for our team to improve,” said Guiao.
Despite losing to the Hotshots, Guiao is impressed with the way RoS is playing under Coach Caloy Garcia, saying he actually feels proud and happy that the Painters have retained the system he put up during his tenure there.
“They look almost like us,” said Guiao.
“It’s like we will see a matchup between twin brothers that will be playing with each other. They know me, I know them, so I don’t know how it will impact the game when we face them.”
Known for his legendary outburst, Guiao said he will just be his usual ‘old self’ against his former team, not discounting the possibility of confronting one or two players from RoS.
But it will be all business, Guiao said.
“Hindi naman personal yun, it’s really something that happened in the game and will stay in the game. After that we’re still good friends. It’s just a manifestation of us being passionate with the game,” he said.
NLEX will continue to miss the services of point guard Garvo Lanete (sprained ankle) and center Rico Villanueva (MCL/knee), but Guiao is still confident that they can still compete against RoS with Asi Taulava, Kevin Alas, Jonas Villanueva, Bradwyn Guinto, Sean Anthony and Mac Baracael.
As for RoS, the team will continue to rely on mainstays Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, Raymond Almazan, Gabe Norwood, Jericho Cruz, and new recruits James Yap and Jay Washington.