BUILDING UP ON THE RIVALRY
San Mig Coffee vs Rain or Shine. This series will probably get most of the attention in the semis. You’ve got all the trappings of a potentially historic one.
(A) Two coaches who respect but don’t really like each other (B) Yap vs. Chan or Yap vs. Tiu (depending on the contest) (C) There’s Marc Pingris taking on the Extra Rice Bros (D) You’ve got a free-flowing, liberal type of offense going against the most methodic and strict. And these two teams are coming off of a 7-game series last conference.
More than the quarterfinals series against BGSM, Rain or Shine’s DEPTH and UNPREDICTABILITY should be a bigger advantage for the Elasto Painters against SMC in this series. I think everyone is pretty much convinced that this will go to a Game 6 or Game 7; and by that time both teams should be a bit tired and both teams should have seen enough of each other to make the necessary adjustments.
Coach Yeng Guiao goes 12-deep while Coach Tim Cone fields ten guys with players 9 and 10 getting minimal PT. As the series goes longer, RoS will have the fresher legs and SMC should be the counter puncher that will make more adjustments because of the unpredictability of the Yeng System.
The grossly underrated San Mig Coffee DEFENSE – without bias and with being whole-heartedly objective, the Mixers defense this conference is one of the best I have seen in the last decade. Get this: in one four-game stretch in the eliminations, SMC limited its opponents to 78, 68, 68, and 73 points (allowing a league-best 83.1 ppg!). They are ’04 Detroit Pistons-destructive on defense. Expect the Mixers to walk the ball to the halfcourt line and win low-scoring ballgames.
Marc Pingris/Yancy De Ocampo/Joe Devance (27ppg and 22rpg) vs. Extra Rice Inc./Jervy Cruz/Larry Rodriguez (37ppg and 25rpg)
If this series can be compared to historic featherweight and junior welterweight fights like Morales-Barrera 2 or any of the Gatti-Ward fights, there is that war in the paint that can potentially remind us of Ali vs. Frazier.
I would give the advantage to the RoS bigs because those four mean dudes can just wear down the San Mig Coffee bigs. I’m pretty sure they will be more productive, but if Pingris, YDC, and JDV hold their ground, the Mixers should have a good shot at this.
Last conference’s Governor’s Cup Finals was Gabe Norwood’s “I’m one of the best players in the league” coming out party. He was a Swiss Army Knife that plugged the holes and provided whatever the team needed. The catch in this series? Jireh Ibanes may not play and if he does, he’ll run around hurt. That means Gabe Norwood will be the one chasing James Yap’s butt. Norwood’s workload will be doubled in this series and I don’t see him making the same impact he did in that coming out party. But if he does, RoS fans can lick their chops to the Finals and write scurrilous comments down there.
I really like Rain or Shine’s depth and unpredictability in this one so I’m saying RoS in 6. Wait. Make it RoS in 7. Shit I don’t know. Make that San Mig Coffee in 7.
Fine! RoS in 6 or 7.
Photos c/o Spin.ph and Interaksyon.com/InterAKTV