The first two games of the Rain or Shine-San Miguel semi-final have been split by the squads, but Rain or Shine has been dominant when it comes to the interior.
From the moment import Wendell McKines scored the first nine points of the series, the import knew they would have some sort of edge inside the paint. McKines was simply too quick and strong in beating June Mar Fajardo off the dribble, while Arizona Reid hasn’t been much of a factor either on the defensive end.
McKines’ 53-point eruption — a PBA season-high — in Game 2 which the Elasto Painters won, 113-110 was the result of taking advantage of that glaring loophole.
The Painters went almost exclusively to McKines in the fourth quarter, and he took the entire Beermen frontline by himself, scoring tough shots inside and drawing countless fouls to carry the team back in the game.
McKines scored 18 in the fourth quarter, shot 16-for-23 overall, and shot 20-for-26 from the foul line. Asked about the monster outing, McKines said it was all about the toughness of the Rain or Shine crew.
“Rain or Shine is a veteran team. Together it’s just resilience. We had to control what he had to control regardless of the outcome and that starts with effort. I just wanted to stay aggressive. They brought me here to bring energy. I couldn’t let up,” he said.
“Heart, resiliency, and Coach Yeng [Guiao] is the man. They watch film, break it down, and let us know where we can be effective. For the first two games it has been the interior.”
Rain or Shine held a commanding 48-26 edge in points in the paint in Game 2, pounding the rock relentlessly underneath where San Miguel had no answers.
Guiao said McKines did a tremendous job exposing Fajardo’s inability to defend the import off the dribble.
“It came about probably because we wanted to draw out [June Mar] Fajardo. I didn’t want Wendell to post-up Fajardo on a basic post-up play. If we are going to play him, face-up on him so he has to move laterally,” Guiao shared, lauding his big man for taking over and giving the squad momentum heading into Game 3.
“Actually kulang na kami sa malaki, so if we don’t compensate for that sa inside game namin, walang mangyayari sa amin. Wendell is key. He has the quickness and strength to hold back any of the bigs on other side. Naglalagari talaga siya. That’s how I look at it. The guy stepped up.”