Guiao on PBA semis series: 'Longer series, better for us'
MANILA, Philippines – A 33-point semifinal loss to break a 10-game win streak was supposed to be described as a "demoralizing loss" for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. A series sweep was no longer within their grasp, too. But for the team's head coach, the no-nonsense and expressive Yeng Guiao, going the series distance can only work to their advantage.
"The longer the series, the better it is for us," he said. "Habang humahaba, gumaganda ang chances namin. (As the series goes on, our chances only improve.) We weren't expected to be 2-0 or even 2-1 in this series anyway."
Guiao's team, one of the few who has remained steady and dominant throughout the conference, was riding a string of 10 straight wins before they finally sputtered to a halt and succumbed to semifinal opponent Petron Blaze Boosters, 106-73, in Game 3.
Despite Petron banging on their door and threatening to tie the series, Guiao says they "still have the upper hand."
Before that loss, they held an imposing 2-0 advantage in the series and were looking to sink the dagger in deeper with a win in Game 3.
But things didn't go as planned.
"We just couldn't make shots," Guiao said, blaming the loss on their depleted level of energy. "We were not as active and aggressive as we were in our first two games."
Gabe Norwood, Rain or Shine's athletic combo guard and defensive specialist, echoed the same sentiment.
"The effort wasn't there," he said. "For whatever reason we didn't come out and compete to the best of our abilities and it showed, we got smacked."
Rain or Shine already came out flat, scoring only 12 points in the first quarter of that Game 3, but Petron pushed them out of their element further by playing hard-nosed basketball.
It didn't help that everthing they heaved from anywhere on the floor kept going in. Petron zoomed to a quick 30-12 lead then nearly matched their opening canto output with a 29-point burst in the second. Even with Rain or Shine's 24 points, it was still a 59-36 deficit at the half.
"The refs did not allow us to play our natural game," said Guiao. "The refs were calling the touch fouls on us. That's like a confluence of all those factors."
It's perfectly understandable for breaks of the game to turn its back completely on one team at any given night. But for a team to turn on itself is a whole other thing. For Guiao, they were their worst enemy that night.
"We had our worst game, turnover-wise," he explained. "We had 24 turnovers, that's double our average turnovers. That's where they got their points. They got 33 turnover points and that is exactly their lead in the game."
"So we beat ourselves, in other words, in terms of turnovers that we gave up," he lamented.
Even in assists, Petron clearly had much better spacing on the floor and better ball movement with their 23 dimes. Rain or Shine, on the other hand, tended to force things, so they ended up with only 11 assists.
In addition, Petron's defense was a choke hold on Rain or Shine, resulting to just 39 field goal attempts by the Painters--17 of which they made. Even 6 triples weren't quite reassuring when the Boosters made bank with 10 three-pointers of their own.
Guiao's players looked so uninspired in their play that Guiao felt he should take a gamble to try and change things.
At the 1:36 mark of the third, Guiao incurred his second technical foul and was consequently ejected from the game. The cause for the technical foul? Giving Arwind Santos the finger.
Apparently, Guiao, Santos says, is his godfather.
That relation, along with playing for Guiao in the past, has given Santos solid recognition of what the 54-year old fiery coach is like.
"Naging coach ko rin yan, alam ko na ganoon talaga siya," Santos said. "Siguro hindi lang natin ma-control yung emotions natin bilang tao. Meron talaga yung mafru-frustrate ka kasi lamang kami.
"Siguro sinubukan niya para baka maiba yung tawagan pagka nawala siya."
(He was my coach before, I know he's like that. Perhaps we just couldn't control our emotions as people. Sometimes we get frustrated. Maybe he did that in the hope that the calls would change when he's gone.)
Guiao did not deny his intentions. Unfortunately, the ejection provided temporary spark at most as things only took a turn for the worse.
For the payoff period, Rain or Shine only had 11 measly points.
"I took the risk pero walang nangyari (but nothing happened)," Guiao said. "Matatalo na rin lang kami, sumugal ka na lang. (We were going to lose anyway, so take a risk.) Just changed the conditions in the game in the hope of making something happen. But sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."
Rain or Shine's advantage
To the Elasto Painters, the 33-point loss is but a footnote to their real game plan of winning the series and making it to the finals. Having a two-game advantage, says Guiao, means having the luxury of living minus the pressure. And that is what they hope to exploit come Game 4.
"The advantage we gain with a two-game [lead] is you have the luxury of watching tapes, studying and evaluating the game," he explained.
Alternately, the loss also felt foreign to the team after knowing nothing but victory for 10 games.
"It's tough, naturally," Norwood shared what it felt like to lose again. "But at the same time we know we're capable of winning games and we know we can beat this team."
"We just felt that we had a good run with the win streak. It's got to end some time. The only disappointment is we did not want it to end with a 33-point loss," Guiao remarked, stressing that Rain or Shine's confidence is still in the right place coming into Game 4.
"It's still okay, we're still ahead in the series. We're looking at things positively." – Rappler.com