by Waylon Galvez
Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia made it clear during a post-practice session Thursday what he wants to accomplish in the Elasto Painters’ PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series with Magnolia.
“(I) told them let’s surprise everybody and win the series,” Garcia said as ROS revs up for Game Four of its race-to-four series with its favored foe set Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite holding a 2-1 lead, Garcia believes pulling the plug on Magnolia’s bid will be difficult.
“It’s going to be hard. We just have to be ready,” said Garcia, whose team dropped an 85-74 decision in a rough game Tuesday, after presiding over a scrimmage at the Northeast Greenhills Gym in San Juan.
ROS took the first two games, 84-77 and 93-80, but Garcia knows Magnolia is the not the type of squad that will hand the series on a silver platter.
The E-Painters have been turning heads this conference and Garcia admits “nobody expected us to be in this position.”
The absence of big man Raymond Almazan likewise has made it even more surprising that ROS is in the Final Four.
“The whole season basically we don’t have Raymond Almazan,” he said.
Still, Garcia is giving credit the team’s other big men.
“Our bigs our keeping us in this situation because they’re hitting their outside shots. They always look good because it opens up everything,” Garcia added.
If ROS survives Magnolia, it will mark the first time since 2006 that the squad will play in the finals when Yeng Guiao steered the team to the championship.
“I reminded the players that we’re still up in the series. The loss (in Game 3) basically came in the fourth quarter, we only scored 11 points and we can’t contain (Ian) Sangalang,” said Garcia.
“But other than that, I told them that I’m still optimistic and that we can win Game 4 as long we play our type of game,” he added.