The first out-of-town game of the 2013 Commissioner’s cup brings the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the Meralco Bolts to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Both teams are coming off controversial losses with both coaches lamenting on poor officiating as the cause of their team’s bad luck. Against Alaska, Meralco’s Eric Dawson didn’t look as impressive as he did during their first game vs. TNT. Give credit to Sonny Thoss for being able to limit one of the more dominant imports this conference. Despite their import’s struggles, the Bolts were able to hang with Alaska, thanks to a break-out performance by rookie Vic Manuel, who was one of the players acquired by Meralco in the trade for Sol Mercado.
Rain or Shine on the other hand, recently lost Jeff Chan to a fractured left thumb, which will leave the team without its top local scorer for at least a month. This development will definitely test Coach Yeng’s rotation and it will be interesting to see what plan he devises to make up for Chan’s absence. For their import Bruno Sundov, this game marks their 2nd chance to get a block. The Painters need him to be a defensive presence and he’ll need to swat some shots away to do that.
Let’s take a look at Rain or Shine’s keys to the game:
- Steppin-Up: Who among the Rain or Shine players will step-up in the absence of Jeff Chan? With Coach Yeng’s unpredictable rotations, it’s really hard to tell who will get the extra burn on the court. However, what I am sure of though, is the need for Paul Lee to get back to his scoring ways.
- Defeating Dawson: Dawson’s numbers in Meralco’s game 1 win, 37 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals & 2assists. His numbers in a loss vs. Alaska? 15 points, 13 rebounds, & 1 steal. If the Painters are able to force Dawson into pedestrian numbers, then they should be able to get their first win of the conference.
- Local Support: In their game vs. Alaska, none of the ROS locals scored in double digits. While Sundov seems like a dominant import defensively, they team absolutely cannot simply rely on his scoring every time. The locals also have to carry the team offensively from time to time, especially now that Chan is out with an injury.
This one’s gonna be a tough one to call because both teams just have so much unpredictability right now. However, I believe that a member of the Elasto Painters will step-up in Chan’s absence and help propel the team to its first win in the conference. PLUS, they’ll block some shots too!