Rain or Shine picks up steam as import McKines blends in
MANILA, Philippines – It’s taken some time, but Rain or Shine is finally building some momentum.
The Painters are now riding a 3-game winning streak after starting the PBA Governors’ Cup at 1-4. And head coach Yeng Guiao believes it is because they’ve finally gotten their chemistry going with import Wendell McKines fully incporated into the team.
“Wendell has been blending in. We’ve had problems with our chemistry early in the conference but he’s been able to blend in,” Guiao explained after Rain or Shine’s 106-102 escape of NLEX on Wednesday, June 10.
“He’s gotten to know his teammates a little better, we’ve gotten to know him a little better. We’re a lot more cohesive in this part of the conference than we were in the initial stages.”
Coming off a grueling 7-game Finals series against Talk ’N Text in the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup, Rain or Shine struggled to get on its feet again – something the American McKines believes was crucial to his adjustment phase.
“It wasn’t easy,” he admitted. “It was coming off of a Game 7 and then a week later our conference started and we had to travel 9 hours to Dubai to play back-to-back so it took a little time to adjust. But now I feel as though we’re hitting our stride.”
“We didn’t have any tune-up games so it just took time for everything to start clicking and jelling,” he added.
The adjustment was one notch more difficult this time given that Rain or Shine had been used to having Wayne Chism around, an import they’ve had for two conferences already.
“Coming out of the last conference with Wayne Chism, where we really had good chemistry with our import, once he (McKines) came in at the start of this conference we did not have that kind of chemistry,” explained Guiao, hoping they can still make a run for a good playoffs seeding with their current 4-4 record.
“But we’re slowly gaining it, we’re slowly getting that. We hope it’s not too late.”
That chemistry was tested well against NLEX Wednesday night, when Rain or Shine had to weather a furious comeback from 29 points down in the final period.
“We just had a long mental lapse,” McKines explained what caused their collapse. “We knew they were gonna make a run. We just had to sustain it. I’m glad to we made the right plays in the end.”
McKines, 26 and who came off a strong showing in the Israeli League, is comfortable in Guiao’s “free” system. His speedy turnaround basket off a nice no-look pass from Chris Tiu – clearly a product of familiarity – provided some much-needed cushion for Rain or Shine in the endgame against NLEX.
“I love the system. It’s kind of a free system and let’s you be a basketball play and be confident,” said McKines, who previously played for Alaska. “It just took me some time practicing the system and playing in games with the system [to get used to it].”
McKines averaged 27.14 points and 14 rebounds a game before his explosion tonight of 33 points and 20 rebounds, including 9 in the fourth.
“He [Guiao] just gives me confidence to be me, to be a leader and to play smart and to be a team player,” McKines says, crediting Guiao’s system.
The Painters have a tough schedule ahead of them with the Star Hotshots, Talk ’N Text, KIA, and Meralco in their midst as they race to make the top 4. The top 4 teams at the end of the eliminations will each earn a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. – Rappler.com