Lucky. That’s what Rain or Shine was in this game.
After giving up a first half lead, the Elasto Painters entered the 4th quarter, down 76-72 to a Barako Bull team who were being led by Eric Wise (41 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals). Probably searching for a spark, Coach Yeng Guiao decided to get creative with his rotations in this one. First, he decided to start Uyloan and Cruz along with Reid, Chan and Arana and the Rain or Shine bench was already emptied by the six minute mark of the 2nd quarter (All ROS players played at least 5 minutes).
Did Coach Yeng’s ploy play a factor in this win? Let’s check our keys to the game:
Disrupt the Motion
This is where Coach Yeng’s rotations baffled me a bit. He started Cruz on Wise, who then proceeded to dominate the ROS big man time and time again. After Cruz got his 2nd foul, he subbed in Almazan to guard Wise. The lanky rookie had some initial success, but Wise eventually also found a way to overpower him. By the end of the 1st half, Wise was responsible for 22 out of Barako’s 49 points.
In the 3rd quarter, Coach Yeng decided to play Norwood on Wise, with Wise looking to post-up his smaller defender time and time again. The ROS help defense did a good job limiting this action, but they just couldn’t contain Wise’s activity on the boards (8 offensive rebounds) and his ability to read the defense (6 assists).
The Elasto Painters were able to stop Fortuna’s playmaking, but they allowed Wise to have a career game not only in points, but also in rebounds and assists… and almost allowed the Energy Cola to steal this one in the 4th quarter.
As expected, Reid, Chan and Lee all scored in double digits for Rain or Shine. The team needed other locals to step up in this one and they did get ample contributions from Belga (8 points), Norwood (7 points) and Uyloan (8 points) to help Rain or Shine pull this one off.
Again, Rain or Shine is very, very lucky to have escaped with a victory in this one. The disparity on the boards (60-37 in favor of Barako Bull) and shot attempts (87-78 also for Barako Bull) should have been too much for any team to overcome. It seems that the Elasto Painter frontline is just not playing up to par and with a date against the extra physical Alaska Aces coming up, it’s surely going to be another uphill battle.