“Yes, I was kind of aware but I did not really think of it,” he stated. “I did not really look at it as a factor for this game, I did not even mention it to the guys. Pero I don’t think it was a point for discussion. It’s not even an issue since baka magkaroon pa ng psychological effect.”
Whether the Elasto Painters themselves are aware was made known when they fashioned a cruising 116-85 victory over the Tropang Texters Sunday to grab a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bruno Sundov, Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood took turns in leading Rain or Shine’s repeated surges from the start that gave it as much as two 36-point spreads and into its first win in eight meetings with TNT this season.
“Kung p’wede lang paghati-hatiin ang lamang namin ngayon, pambawi sa mga dati naming talo sa kanila,” joked Guiao.
More important, the E-Painters moved alongside idle Alaska at the top with its seventh win in 10 games and put it closer to realizing its cherished goal of finishing within the top two at the end of the 14-game eliminations.
“I think the magic number is still 10 (wins),” said Guiao. “We have four games left so we have to win at least three. This (win) gets us closer there, but magkakalapit din, hindi naman malayo ang (6-3) Petron (Blaze). We’re just focused on our next games.”
The loss was TNT’s fifth in 10 games, creating a tie for fourth among the Texters, defending champion San Mig Coffee, streaking Barangay Ginebra and surprising Air21.
In the end, Rain or Shine’s final output and winning margin are the highest thus far in the conference with its 31 assists also a tournament-best.
Things just fell into place and favored his team, according to Guiao. “I think Talk N Text just got tired. They had a hard game last Friday,” he said, referring to its 93-85 overtime win over Petron.
“At the same time, we got lucky. I don’t think we can shoot that well every night,” added Guiao. “So it’s a combination of them being tired and us getting lucky today.”
Rain or Shine made 44 of 83 field goal attempts, including half of its 24 three-point tries, to TNT’s 28-for-86 clip from the field. That’s where Guiao gave credit to his charges.
“To hold TNT, which I think is the most potent offensive team in the league, to just 32.6 percent from the field, is playing good defense on our side,” said Guiao. “But I don’t really think this game is a real picture of what Talk N Text is capable of. It’s just not their night tonight.”
Jayson Castro’s 19 points were enough to pace TNT with Donnell Harvey adding 17 points and 13 rebounds and Ranidel de Ocampo the only other Texter in double digits with 13.
In contrast, Sundov had 27 points and 16 rebounds, Gabe Norwood 19 points anchored on four triples, Chris Tiu 15 points and Paul Lee 10 points, five rebounds and as many assists.
With the rest of Rain or Shine’s players chipping in, the outcome became beyond doubt as early as the third quarter, when TNT was held to just 5-of-23 from the floor for a 94-58 difference the E-Painters maintained at 103-67.
With no clear last-ditch uprising in sight from TNT, Guiao had the luxury of starting to field his third-stringers with still eight minutes to go.
Sundov set the tone with 14 of his points in the opening period and Tiu stoking their hold on a 59-42 halftime spread with 10 of his points in the second quarter. (NC)
Bruno Sundov finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds for Rain or Shine.
Jayson Castro wound up with 19 points to pace Talk n Text, which shot a paltry 32.8 percent from the field and dropped to 5-5 alongside Air21, San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.