MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao breathed a sigh of relief after the Elasto Painters held on for a 112-108 win over the Alaska Aces in Game 3 of the 2016 PBA Commissioners Cup Finals on Wednesday.
The Elasto Painters led by as much as 27 points in the third quarter, thanks to their torrid shooting from beyond the arc. But they stumbled late in the final quarter against Alaska’s press and their own turnovers allowed the Aces to come to within five points with 15 seconds to go. To Guiao’s relief, however, they were able to hold on.
“Buti na lang malaki ang lamang namin,” Guiao said after the game. “We really didn’t finish this game well, but it’s still a win, and we can win a championship on Friday.”
The victory gave Rain or Shine a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and Guiao noted that they “have one foot inside the door.”
Yet he remains wary of a potential comeback by the Aces, noting that in just the previous conference, San Miguel Beer overcame a 0-3 series deficit to outlast Alaska in seven games and win the All-Filipino Cup.
“It’s happened before, and it can happen again,” Guiao said, referencing San Miguel’s “Beer-acle” run which marked the first time in league history that a team battled back from a 0-3 deficit to win a series.
“San Miguel was down 0-3 but they still won the championship,” he said. “That’s what’s going to be on our mind. We don’t want to be in that position, where we will lose a three-game lead.”
“So we’ll do everything we can to finish this on Friday.”
The Elasto Painters need to stay mentally focused in order to keep executing their game plan and deal with Alaska’s full court press, while at the same time pressing the pace.
“We have the materials to beat their press, and we’ve been doing that throughout the series. Also, we played generally good defense throughout the series,” Guiao said.
“And if we can keep the pace… Alaska is a fast team, but I feel that because our guard rotation is deeper, we can sustain the speed a little bit more than they can,” he added.
“So, consistent defense and keeping the game fast are going to be the key on Friday.”
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