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Rain or Shine Painters on a roll


PhilBoxing.com


That might very well describe Rain or Shine?s campaign in the on-going Commissioner?s Cup in this, the PBA?S 43rd season.

Only in the second year under comebacking head coach Caloy Garcia, the Elasto Painters tot a league-leading 7-1 win-loss card going into their last three elimination round games and look on the way to topping the round and enjoy, too, a twice-to-win bonus into the quarterfinals.

And with the way the Painters took the measures of the league?s top guns as defending champions San Miguel Beer, the current second best team Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia Hotshots, NLEX, Global Port and Blackwater Elite one after the other earlier in the round, it seems there?s no stopping the Raymond Yu and Terry Que-owned franchise in achieving their goal.

And end, as well, Rain or Shine?s two-year title drought since ruling this very same conference before former coach Yeng Giuao abandoned the ship and moved to NLEX.

A 104-96 loss to Columbian Dyip in their fourth outing on May 9 stained what could have been a perfect 9-0 start, ROS finest since Guiao left at the start of the play-for-pay?s 2016 season.

Coach Caloy, who actually was ROS?s second mentor when he assumed the job in 2008 in lieu of now SMB tactician Leo Austria, attributes the team?s new-found success to the maturity of the Painters, the acquisition of new and old talents through trades and, of course the presence of big, burly 6-foot-10 import Reggie Johnson.

?Na-recover na ng mga bata ang maturity nawala noong umalis si coach Yeng. Nag-re-shuffle ng tao, nakuha namin si James (Yap) na nakadagddag sa maturity leadership plus nakuha na nya muli ang competitiveness nya,? Garcia explained

?When we got James kasi, may injury sya at di pa namin mapuwersa,? he said. ?But he has completely regained his shooting touch. Nakita nama natin, he topped the three-point shooting contest noong nakaraang All-Stars at sana magtuloy-tuloy na ito. Malaki talaga ang maitutulong ni James sa team.?

?And, of course, sinuwerte kami sa aming import. Malaki ang naidagdag niya sa height ng team at may leadership din,? coach Caloy said of his reinforcement from the Miami Hurricanes.

?Bukod dyan, namo-motivate at nai-inspire ni Reggie and teammates nya. Mabait at soft-spoken kahit malaking tao. We cannot ask for more nga sa klase ng laro at ugaling ipinakikita niya,? he said.

Members of Garcia?s coaching staff and players are, likewise, one in praising Johnson?s solid performances in the Painters? showing so far.

The feeling though is mutual. Johnson has been very vocal, too, in praising his coaches and teammates a he has been quoted as saying, ?they?re special.?

Only the Phoenix Fuel Masters, the Meralco Bolts and the TNT Katropa stand on the way of the Painters in their hopes of clinching the twice-to-beat incentive and make it easy for them to advance to the round of Eight, semifinals, Finals and eventually a third title for the Asian Coatings Philippines franchise.

What coach Caloy expects as still a long road to that starts today when the Painters play the Fuel Masters ar 4:30 p.m at the Mall of Asia. They take on the Bolts on June 24 at the Araneta Coliseum before ending the elimination round campaign against TNT July7 also at the Big Dome.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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