The hunter suddenly became the hunted.
That is probably what Rain or Shine feels as it faces Barangay Ginebra on Sunday for its win-or-go-home Game Three PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings’ never-say-die spirits were in full display in Game Two following their 79-77 bounce-back victory against the Elasto Painters that forge a one-all standoff and the winner-take-all match.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao knows the urgency of winning Game Three, which is why his boys will now have to respond to the challenge or else, just take the early Christmas vacation.
For Rain or Shine to live another day and play in the semifinals, here are a few things they need to include in their “survival kit”…
1. Big, fighting heart- Rain or Shine had that during its 82-65 demolition of Barangay Ginebra in Game One, but seemed to have lost it in Game Two.
Going for the rebound takes a lot of heart, especially as they will again face Ginebra, currently the top rebounding team in the conference.
The Gin Kings dominated the boards in Game Two, 59-47 with veteran forward Rudy Hatfield pulling down nine in a gut-wrenching 22-minute performance for the 35-year-old PBA warrior.
Beau Belga will have to do a better job of going for the ball, rather than try to play extra physical. His zeal for the game somewhat went overboard when he committed what Guiao termed as a”stupid move” – an offensive foul against Barangay Ginebra forward Rico Maierhofer during the critical period of the final quarter.
Guiao said that was not “their brand of play” because that somehow cost them the game.
Belga will also need help from bulky JR Quinahan, vastly improved Jervy Cruz, Larry Rodriguez, Gabe Norwood and Ronnie Matias so they could match Barangay Ginebra’s stratospheric frontline.
2. Focus– Playing against Barangay Ginebra’s so-called “sixth man” – the crowd – can be intimidating, especially in a no-tomorrow game. So Rain or Shine needs to be focused in executing its plays while playing hard-nosed defense for 48 minutes.
3. Jeff Chan factor- Guiao said his team is not designed to rely on just one plàyer, though Rain or Shine needs Jeff Chan’s scoring too for them to survive Game Three.
The former FEU Tamaraw scored just one free throw in Game One (0-of-8) shooting from the field, and scored just 12 points (4-of-13) in Game Two. His production in Game Three will be crucial since he is still one of Guiao’s main weapons outside Paul Lee.
Will Rain of Shine make it to the semis? That answer will be known on Sunday (Dec.16) at the Big Dome starting at 5p.m.