The last time these two teams met was in the elimination round of the 2015 Governor’s Cup. The STAR Hotshots were on a two-game winning streak but it was snapped by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in dominating fashion, 103-88. It was the third-straight loss by the Hotshots against the Elasto Painters as they went 0-3 against Coach Yeng’s boys for the 2015 season.
There was no doubt that Rain or Shine had STAR’s number last season. But Coach Jason Webb, STAR’s rookie coach, plans to do something to arrest that losing skid as both teams square off in the lone opening match of the PBA’s 41st season.
Coach Yeng Guiao, the veteran coach that he is, has already started the mind games as he mentioned that his squad will be going up against a dangerous team in the new-look STAR Hotshots:
“Actually, that’s [change in system] scary kasi yung talent nila James Yap, PJ Simon and Mark Barroca, when you take them out of a rigid structure, eh mas lalo pa silang gagaling.” – Yeng Guiao via Philstar.com
Coaching will be one of Rain or Shine’s main advantage entering this game as a 6x PBA Champion and 2x Coach of the Year is going up against a rookie coach. It will be interesting to see how Coach Webb will do in his debut game in the PBA, especially against a high-caliber coach on the other side.
Aside from being able to execute the offense mapped out by Coach Webb, STAR must also be concerned with their defense. Rain or Shine is one of the best offensive teams in the league today. As a matter of fact, they never had an ORTG below 100 in any of the conference last season. Aside from the usual suspects in Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, and Gabe Norwood, the Hotshots must not look past Rain or Shine’s rookies (Maverick Ahanmisi and Don Trollano) as Coach Yeng is a master of bringing out the best in his rookies.
One last thing, all eyes will be on James Yap and PJ Simon in this game as these two are expected to have break-out seasons in terms of scoring as the Hotshots veer away from the Triangle offense. Can STAR’s dynamic duo help in breaking the losing streak against Rain or Shine?
But in my honest opinion, STAR will start this season with a loss. They will have moments here and there, but that will be it. Mastery of a new system usually takes time and I think the off-season was not enough time for them. It will take a few more games for them to be fully accustomed to the new system. It is just unfortunate for them to be facing a title contender in their very first outing.
It would come as a huge surprise though if they can somehow pull off an upset against Coach Yeng Guiao and the rest of the Elasto Painters.
|TIME: 5:00 PM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|