For the past couple of seasons, Rain or Shine has stayed in contention in every playoff matchup. This is evident as the squad is currently the third most popular team in the league next to Barangay Ginebra and the Purefoods Star Hotshots.
And more than just merely being in the playoffs, the ROS franchise has been making noise as they battled tooth and nail with eventual champions in the past conferences. After their 2012 season-ending conference championship, the squad has been a fixture in the playoff picture of the league. Being used to the playoff atmosphere, two of the Elasto Painters’ Gilas cadets gave their take on how this privilege affects their game.
For Gabe Norwood, being able to experience plenty of playoff games enables them to treat each series the same way they would handle their past battles.
“It is like any other series, you have to win four games before it’s over. We’ve been through a lot of quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals series together so nobody is down,” he said.
Meanwhile, Beau Belga looks at it as an advantage for their team as most members of the current Rain or Shine squad have been through a PBA playoff battle except rookie Jericho Cruz,
who’s out of the lineup due to an injury. This means that every Elasto Painter who’s currently suiting up for the team has experienced at least a single playoff series.
“Siguro, in a sense nasasanay ka na sa semifinals game. Advantage kasi lahat kami naranasan na namin yun,” Belga added.
As for Norwood, he wishes that his teammates are becoming comfortable in playing long playoff series against tough teams in the league, saying, “I hope we’re getting used to this battle.”
“At the end of the day you just have to play [to] the best of your ability,” said Norwood as he shared the secret on how they managed to battle at a high level in their previous playoff appearances.
Currently in a tough situation against Alaska, an equally deep team, Belga recalled how they got into another playoff picture as they once again aim to move on to the next phase and hopefully give Coach Yeng Guiao his first All-Filipino Cup championship.
“We’re lucky na kahit nagstruggle kami sa start ng season nag-end up pa rin kami sa semis. Hopefully, mag-end up pa rin sa finals,” he concluded.