Fiery Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is convinced his team has what it takes to beat Powerade in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal showdown beginning Jan. 4 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Guiao told the PBA website “I feel really good the way we’re playing. I think we can take on Powerade in a seven-game series.”
Guiao and his Elasto Painters have a right to be optimistic following their exciting campaign capped by an impressive two-game sweep of the Barangay Ginebra Kings in their quarterfinals match-up.
Despite his confidence, Guiao won’t take Powerade under coach Bo Perasol for granted.
He said “You have to respect what Powerade has achieved. They’re peaking at the right time and we have to address their strength at the point guard and the wing positions.”
Guiao was referring to scoring rookie Smart Gilas national team member JV Casio, scoring machine Gary David and rookie Marcio Lassiter another member of the Philippine national team who he believes can be very dangerous.
While Guiao knows what David can do he also feels comfortable that he has defensive stoppers to stifle the Powerade shooting star.
Guiao pointed out “We have tall and quick players to match up with David,”referring to 6-foot-4 Gabe Norwood, 6-foot-1 guards Ryan Arana and Jireh Ibañez.
The ROS coach recalled that his defenders did a good job on David, limiting him 14 points when the Elasto Painters overcame the Tigers, 96-93, in their elimination-round meeting last Oct. 9.
Guiao believes his team can fare as well in the other match-ups.
Overall, Guiao is comfortable with the thought that the Elasto Painters have evolved into a fighting unit that can make the finals.
Guiao whose uncanny ability to mould individual players into a fiercely competitive squad which effectively reflects his own character said “It’s gratifying to see the team transform and acquire the toughness to perform at this level. The guys have settled down to embracing our system the same way the old Red Bull team embraced our system and team philosophy. Everyone is equal and there are no superstars,” said Guiao.
Rookie Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, JR Quinahan and Norwood are among the team’s lead lights, all four being in the top 24 in the league’s stats race.
Chan leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points a game, Lee paces the squad in assists (4.5) and in steals (0.9), Quinahan is tops in rebounds (6.4) and in blocks (1.3) while Norwood has solid all-around norms of 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.9 steal and 0.4 block.
The team also boasts of the inside presence of Beau Belga, Larry Rodriguez and Jervy Cruz and the backcourt contribution of TY Tang.