Final series begins

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Thursday, February 13, 2014


MANILA—A well-rested Rain or Shine battles San Mig Coffee in Game 1 of the best-of-seven titular series of the 39th PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The Elasto Painters had at least a one week rest after disposing Petron Blaze off, 97-88, in Game 5 of their semifinal battle for a resounding 4-1 victory last Feb. 7.

In contrast, San Mig Coffee had only one day to prepare for their 25th finals appearance. But coach Tim Cone said they are riding on the momentum of their grueling 4-3 win over Ginebra Kings, whom they crushed 110-87 in Game 7 before 24,883 fans last Wednesday.

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Coach Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine, who is in his 12th finals appearance, will dig deeper into his vast experience being a six-time champion. However, Guiao hasn’t won the All-Filipino crown. Con, 56, e is the winningest coach with 15 titles, and has three All-Filipino crowns. This will be Cone’s 27th finals appearance since 1989.

“The break at least gave us extra time to heal our little aches and pains. It allows us to keep ourselves fresh for the Finals. This team is one year wiser having boosted by our Finals stint last year. We should now more prepared than last year,” said Guiao, whose Elasto Painters won a crown for the first time in the 2013 Commissioner’s cup since joining the league in 2006.

The Coffee Mixers, on the other hand, are aiming for their 11th crown. They have already three All-Filipino titles and two Philippine cup championships, the last was in 2009. They are also seeking for their third title under Cone, who joined the team in 2011.

“The last time we played Rain or Shine in a series went on seven games. Honestly, we are a bit deeper than we were. We’re going to go there in Game 1 and see what we can do,” said Cone.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 14, 2014.

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