Somehow, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao was able to find a way to win with his shortened rotation following the absence of four players. Playing without injured players Jervy Cruz, Chris Tiu and Jeric Teng as well as Jeff Chan, who has yet to recover after being sidelined by flu, Guiao made full use of his 10-man rotation in beating the grand slam champion Purefoods Star Hotshots.
But Guiao said coaching the 10 healthy guys on his team against the reigning four-peat champs looked easy as players committed themselves to winning. “It was easy coaching to win because the guys wanted to win badly,” Guiao told sportswriters right after the game. “We were very aggressive on defense. We were challenging their shots. We were challenging their positions. It’s just about effort tonight.”
Curiously, it was TY Tang and Jonathan Uyloan, once upon a time fighting for a position to be included in the lineup, who did most of the damage and led the Elasto Painters to their fifth straight win.
Tang played inspired ball. He took a bad fall in the fourth period when he lost his balance while trying to stop Peter June Simon from taking a shot. When Tang returned, the pint-sized guard finished the job, scoring 11 markers, including a follow-up off his own missed shot that squelched the rally of the Hotshots.
Uyloan, on the other hand, also played no let up basketball. He had nine points and a personal best six steals.
“I couldn’t give the guys enough credit tonight. They just put on an effort. They wanted to win this game badly,” added Guiao.