by Jonas Terrado
Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Columbian vs Magnolia
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Alaska
Rain or Shine is not taking the recent Asian Games campaign of six players as an excuse for its struggles in the PBA Governors’ Cup that saw the Elasto Painters drop their first two assignments against TNT KaTropa and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.
The Elasto Painters were the last team to make their debut in the season-ending conference after accepting the role of fielding core players to the quadrennial meet that resulting in the Philippines’ fifth place finish in Jakarta.
Chris Tiu, James Yap and Maverick Ahanmisi were part of the Asiad squad while Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan got extended international exposure in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Coach Caloy Garcia and the Painters began the conference with a 110-104 loss to TNT in Passi City, Iloilo last Sept. 22 before falling 92-76 to Magnolia last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I think everything was going well despite the loss of the six due to the Asian Games,” Garcia said. “But I told them that we couldn’t use that as an excuse. In fact, we should be playing better since we came from the Asian Games.”
ROS can’t afford to continue its woes in the tournament, with the PBA giving the ballclub a busy schedule the rest of the way to makeup for the long absence.
The team got a sudden respite last Friday when the league postponed the scheduled doubleheader at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City because of Meralco’s stint in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Thailand.
But it will busy from hereon for the Elasto Painters, beginning Wednesday against the Alaska Aces, followed by matches opposite Blackwater (Oct. 7), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Oct. 13), NorthPort (Oct. 17), Columbian Dyip (Oct. 19) and Meralco (Oct. 21).
The rest of the schedule are against Phoenix (Oct. 24), San Miguel (Oct. 27) and NLEX (Nov. 3).
Rain or Shine is hoping to weather this grueling stretch in order to keep itself in the hunt for at least a top eight finish and a quarterfinals berth.
The Painters are banking on returning import J’Nathan Bullock to lead the charge in the conference.