When the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters missed the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, Beau Belga did not hide his feelings. He straight up admitted that he and the team have been missing the semis atmosphere so bad.
That particular failure in the season-ending conference was the fourth straight time the Elasto Painters had missed the semis bus. For years under former head coach Yeng Guiao, RoS had been a fixture in the penultimate round.
“Sobra pare, apat na sunod na ‘to.”
That misery extended all the way to the 2018 Philippine Cup, as Rain or Shine were swept by the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a best-of-three series. Add to that the triple overtime game just before their quarters series that they also lost.
So that only prolonged Belga’s and the team’s struggles.
“Sobrang laki yung struggle namin. Unang-una kasi ang daming nag-iba,” Belga reflected.
“But, ‘yun nga ‘yung sinasabi sa amin ni coach Caloy na in time darating din tayo sa kung baga parang yung peak ng team natin.”
Apparently, head coach Caloy Garcia had been prophetic with that.
The Elasto Painters will head into the semifinals of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup after dispatching the upset-seeking GlobalPort Batang Pier, 103-97, Thursday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
This will be the first semis appearance of the franchise in the post-Guiao era.
“For two years, masaya. Masaya na nakabalik ulit sa semis and hopefully magtuloy-tuloy,” beamed the 10-year pro moments after the victory. “At sa semis naman, wala nang advantage dito, kung sino na lang talaga ang willing manalo.
“And mas pressured dahil crowd favorite yung kalaban kaya mas pressured, tapos mas masarap laruin.”
The pressure is indeed on for the Elasto Painters, as they will again face the Barangay, who will head into the semis as the hottest team with a seven-game winning streak – this, after a dismal 1-5 start in the conference.
However, Belga is eager to face Ginebra, who have been their tormentors for some time now.
“Sobrang motivated ako kasi ilang beses namin silang nakalaban sa quarters. Last time, dalawang beses kami tinalo sa best-of-three, idagdag mo pa sa elimination na kung nanalo kami ‘di namin sila makakatapat,” expressed the two-time PBA champion.
“So, ano eager lang ako bumawi plus yung eagerness na makaabot ulit sa Finals kasi last finals appearance was nung nag-champion which is nung 2016 so two years ulit sana makabalik ulit,” added the 31-year-old.
“And it’s anybody’s ballgame pagdating ng semis.”