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Basketball

Preseason tourney helped Rain or Shine bench gain experience

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Though they failed to finish the PBA Preseason Games with a three-game sweep, preseason champions Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia is still satisfied with what he has seen from the Elasto Painters.

“We didn’t want to finish the tournament with a loss,” said the youthful mentor after their 97-110 loss to the Alaska Aces on Wednesday at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig. “But I told them after the game that I’m happy with what I saw.

“2-1 is not bad.”

For the second-year head coach, joining the tourney was his way of helping Rain or Shine improve. And judging from their first two games against the Phoenix Fuel Masters and NLEX Road Warriors, the team showed signs of returning to their old identity of being dangerously deep.

What made Garcia beam about the Elasto Painters’ preseason even more was the notable outings of some players — from sophomore Ed Daquioag stepping up (12.5 PPG) to the resurgence of Chris Tiu (15.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.5 APG).

Even Don Trollano and Dexter Maiquez made their presence felt in the three-day long preseason showpiece, as the two-way forwards delivered 12.0 points and 13.0 points respectively for Rain or Shine.

Those kinds of performances could make any tactician gush. And for the Elasto Painters in particular, it was a truly fitting — if not perfect — response to what the soft-spoken Garcia has been preaching to them.

“I just kept reminding the players that not one guy can win us games, it should be a total team effort,” he said. “Yun ang palagi kong pinapasok sa utak nila, it’s all about the team.

“It’s not about somebody, it’s all about the team.”

And that lesson is something that the players, especially the younger ones, have to keep in mind, since guys such as James Yap, Jay Washington, Raymond Almazan, and Jericho Cruz have all yet to reach 100 percent.

“That’s one other thing, we joined here to get more experience for the players who rarely play,” said the youthful tactician.

“So at least mabigyan sila ng kaunting experience before we go to the opening.

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