(Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Tan)

Don’t you just hate choppy phone calls or delayed texts?

That’s probably how Rain or Shine felt against the defensive pressure Talk N Text deployed in the opening game of their best of 7 finals series last night at the Smart Araneta Center.

TNT’s highly physical and active defense held ROS to 35% shooting with scorers Jeff Chan and Paul Lee shooting 3-12 and 4-14 shooting for 10 and 11 points respectively. This, compounded by the Texters outstanding execution on the offensive end resulted in ROS finding themselves trailing by double digits with 6 minutes remaining in the final frame.

After a time-out by Coach Yeng, the Painters came out with a last-ditch effort, going small with Cruz at Center and Norwood at Power Forward. This faster and more active unit was able to hound the Texters enough to allow Rain or Shine cutting the lead down to 3 points with around 3 mins left in regulation.

With teams like Talk N Text though, the chances of them collapsing in an opening game of a finals series are almost impossible. Just like clockwork, Jimmy Alapag, off a pick & roll, skipped a pass to dead-eye shooter Fonacier in the wing which he promptly swish through the net, breaking the ROS run and sealing the win for Talk N Text.

Everything just seemed to go right for TNT. Not only was Coach Norman able to find time for bench players Pamboy Raymundo and Rich Alvarez, but they were actually able to reward Coach Black with some points bridging the 3rd and 4th quarter. For Rain or Shine, whether it’s the opponent’s defense or a bad shooting night for most of the team, they simply have to play better if they wanna have a shot at tying the series Friday night.

From what I see though, it’s really going to be tough for the Rain or Shine upstarts to dethrone Talk N Text. It was simply evident throughout the game that the MVP owned team had the advantage over their counterparts, especially athletically with the Extra Rice bigs and wing defenders of ROS struggling to keep up with their match-ups. I do expect the Rain or Shine defenders to do a better job in game 2. But, will they be able to keep that up in game 3 or 4? That’s the big question.

Coach Yeng doesn’t seem to concerned about his team, attributing the performance to simply a bad shooting night. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what adjustments Rain or Shine comes out with for tonight’s game. TNT will be ready though, as Coach Norman said, “This is where the fun begins”.