PBA Gov.’s Cup final series fires off today-A A +A
Saturday, July 21, 2012
MANILA—The fired-up Rain or Shine Elasto Painters start their quest for a crown when they face B-Meg Llamados today in Game 1 of the best-of-seven titular series of the 37th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine, which stunned the league by making it to the finals for the first time since 2006, clash against the Llamados in the lone game at 6 p.m.
Veteran coach Yeng Guiao’s team will come into the game with fresh legs after enjoying a two-day rest since their 92-82 conquest of the Llamados last Wednesday that sealed their entry to the finals.
B-Meg had to go through the rigors of a do-or-die playoff against Ginebra, 74-72, to make it to the titular battle for the second straight conference.
Coach Tim Cone’s B-Meg also won the Commissioner’s Cup crown last May 6.
Aside from winning two titles since leaving the Alaska Aces before the season started, Cone is also hoping to tie the record of the legendary Baby Dalupan, who had at least 15 championships under his belt.
“Alam kong magiging bugbugan itong finals, so I gave my boys the chance to rest. Doon man lang ay magkaroon kami ng kaunting advantage,” said Guiao, who has also four PBA titles since starting as head coach of Swift Mighty Meaty in the early 1990s.
Despite being the first team to reach the finals and the team to have defeated B-Meg in their two meetings, including a 100-94 overtime victory in the elimination round last May 27, Guiao still considered his Elasto Painters as the underdog.
“We’re the underdogs kahit nauna kami sa Finals. Pero malay natin makatsamba kami,” he added.
Cone will rely on guards Josh Urbiztondo, Mark Barroca and Jonas Villanueva, who will be pitted against bigger guards of Rain or Shine like Gabe Norwood, Ryan Arana and rookie Paul Lee.
“We really have a problem matching up with Rain or Shine especially in the backcourt. Our guards are smaller. We have to get good performances from Urbiztondo, Barroca and Villanueva if we are to put up a good fight,” Cone stressed.
The former Alaska mentor also cited Rain or Shine import Jamelle Cornley as the toughest to contend with considering his size.
“Rain Or Shine has a strong import. Marc Pingris gives away 40 pounds against him. Rafi Reavis gives up more. It’s hard to stop Cornley,” Cone noted.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 22, 2012.