Second-year Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia had been nothing but satisfied even if his Rain or Shine Elasto Painters have bowed out of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup following the defeat it received from now Finals-bound Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Garcia couldn’t ask for more from the grit his players have shown in the match, where they battled back from a 14-point deficit early and even took a two-point lead late in the match, until losing 94-96 to the Gin Kings.
“The nice thing about this was our players played their hearts out today,” said the youthful tactician.
“They don’t want to lose but it’s part of the game, and sometimes losing can you make better.”
For Garcia, this conference had been nothing but positive. The veteran coach felt like he and his wards have surprised a lot of people, when they came into the playoffs as the top-seeded team with a 9-2 record in the eliminations.
“Nobody felt that our team was capable of ending the elimination as number one. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s more of a lesson to be learned. The nice thing in the dugout is we’re happy. We’re happy on how we performed,” he said.
“We just have to get better.”
And in their series versus the Barangay, Rain or Shine was seen as the underdogs owing to the way the Gin Kings had been playing — they entered the semifinals as the hottest team in the league with a seven-game winning streak.
But they shocked a lot yet again when they stopped the crowd darlings’ fiery surge in Game Two, 109-100, all thanks to two-time PBA Most Valuable Player James Yap living up to his “Big Game” billing once more.
“It speaks about our character,” expressed Garcia. “It’s hard to play Ginebra in a series but it’s also a good learning point of our team. It is always good to play against them because you get to learn a lot of things.”
“Like I said, they got the best tactician right now in Coach Tim [Cone]. We gave them a battle and we were able to at least make our fans proud and even the management happy. We just have to learn how to get over that hump.”