The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters stayed true to their team’s values of loyalty and continuity this past off-season as it didn’t make any major roster moves, choosing instead to re-sign Beau Belga and get younger and deeper through the draft.
We profiled them in our ROS draft review post here: 2013 PBA Draft Review: Rain or Shine is Picking up the Pieces
It is assumed that Chito Jaime and Jonathan Uyloan have not been resigned by the team to player contracts.
Final Team Roster
Rain or Shine has maintained its deep and versatile line-up with its three draft picks as the only additions to this experienced and cohesive unit. However, versatile as this collective may be, its source of offensive firepower will still mostly come from the perimeter, since only a couple of Elasto Painter bigs (Cruz, Belga) have a low-post game to speak of.
Defensively though, with Almazan now in the fold, this team has the potential to be potent defensively. Since Yeng Guiao took over the team, ROS has always been in the middle of the pack in terms of defense, relying mostly on timely stops and physical intimidation as opposed to consistent defensive pressure the entire game. With the drafting of a legitimate above the rim presence and two athletic perimeter players, plus retaining their resident defensive specialists on-hand, it’s not hard to imagine the Elasto Painters finally becoming a top-three defensive team this coming conference.
Rain or Shine will face the following teams twice:
- Talk ‘N Text, Globalport, San Mig Coffee, Meralco and Barako
And the following teams once:
- Alaska, Ginebra, Petron and Air 21
With league parity at an all time high coming into this season, playing projected bottom feeders Barako twice is the most that a team could wish for. Also, playing teams that had a lot of personnel changes like Meralco and Globalport twice may be a better draw than going up against Alaska, Ginebra and Petron since it could take time for those aforementioned squads to develop chemistry and play up to their potential.
A Return to Form
It’s no secret that after his stint with Gilas, Jeff Chan performed poorly in the last season’s ending conference. In fact, his poor marksmanship from beyond the arc in the Governor’s Cup pulled down his season average to a career low 26%.
If Rain or Shine wants to book themselves a return trip to the finals, Chan must rediscover his range and reprise his role as the team’s main outside threat and floor spacer.
After a stunning rookie season, Paul Lee was sadly plagued with injuries in his sophomore campaign, seeing action in only 38 games last season out of a total of around 56 games that the team played. While the team was still able to play relatively well in his absence, it was clear that the team sorely missed his unpredictability on offense as the team’s attack had a tendency to stagnate late in the shot clock without somebody like Lee who’s one of the better players on this team in creating his own shot.
Mr. Quality Minutes
I absolutely love Coach Yeng, but he really needs to find more time in his rotation for Jervy Cruz. The former King Tiger and last season’s winner of the Mr. Quality Minutes award, Cruz averaged an impressive 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in only 21 minutes per game. Outside of imports, Cruz was Rain or Shine’s most efficient player for most of the season, but only saw limited court time due to (we assume) a lack of size and toughness in the defensive end.
It’s doubtful that Cruz will display a marked improvement on defense this season, but with the absence of towering imports and Almazan now with the team to shore up the interior defense, maybe Coach Yeng could find more time for Cruz this coming Philippine Cup.
Rain or Shine had most of its success last season when they pushed the ball and played fast. In fact, despite having the slow footed Bruno Sundov as their import in the Commissioner’s Cup, the team led the league in Pace at 94.4, which is almost three more possessions above the league average of 91.6. This, coupled by a league leading Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of 46.4% led to ROS being the highest scoring team (at 95.5 points per game) and also the team with the highest Offensive Rating (ORTG) of 101.1 (vs. the league average of 96.07).
I go back to the Commissioner’s Cup, because despite having being upset by Ginebra in the semi-finals, that conference also showed us the full potential of the team’s offensive capabilities. Of course, having a legit post presence in Sundov was a big part of it, but the team’s transition game and shoot-first mentality was also an integral part of them being a offensive force in that conference.
Despite coming into the season in great health and well prepared, this coming conference is shaping up to be one of the more challenging conferences for all teams. For Rain or Shine to have a chance, they will need not only a lot of luck, but also a relatively injury free conference. It’s too hard to make any predictions right now, but I think that it’ll be safe to assume that we’ll be in for a very, very entertaining season ahead.