July 25, 2017

Road Warriors test character against E-Painters

RAIN or Shine has just snapped out of GlobalPort's spell.

The Elasto Painters now aim to extend their domination of the NLEX Road Warriors and former coach Yeng Guiao when they duel Wednesday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Should Rain or Shine follow up its 98-96 win over GlobalPort last Friday, cutting short the Batang Pier's two-game winning streak over the former, it would mark the third time in as many meetings it has beaten NLEX this season.

Guiao and E-Painters counterpart Caloy Garcia are both expecting a long, rough night.

"NLEX is playing so well," said Garcia. "Their players are starting to understand the system of coach Yeng and they have an import who fits them. It's gonna be a hard game."

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"They are a tall, balanced team with a lot of seasoned players. We will be severely tested,"countered Guiao.

In order for the protagonists to achieve their immediate goal, the lessons learned from their last outings should be translated into game.

It took two free throws by Raymond Almazan in the last four seconds before Rain or Shine could hurdle a GlobalPort side, which gamely battled back from a 14-point deficit.

"We just have to be consistent," Garcia blurted out after the Batang Pier game.

NLEX also has its own concerns. After debuting in the conference with a 112-104 win over Alaska, the Road Warriors almost squandered a 27-point lead over Kia before scraping out a 100-93 victory.

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"We relaxed too early," was how Guiao put it.

How the teams' respective imports fare and lead the charge should be a major factor.

In his league debut JD Weatherspoon was steady with 25 points and 15 rebounds in leading a balanced Rain or Shine attack that also featured Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymond Almazan and Chris Tiu.

Aaron Fuller, meanwhile, has proven to be rock-solid, averaging 27 points and 19.5 rebounds with chief support coming from Kevin Alas, JR Quinahan and Carlo Lastimosa.

One big concern for Guiao is the total 50 turnovers his team has committed thus far, but Garcia is more focused on stifling the Road Warriors' offense, particularly their transition game.

"We have to control the boards and limit their shots," stated Garcia.