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Slowly but Surely: The Rise of Rain Or Shine

A new basketball power cometh
by Gelo Gonzales | Jul 5, 2012
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At the end of the eliminations for the 2012 PBA Governor’s Cup elimination round, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters hold the top spot with an 8-1 win-loss record. Yes, Rain or Shine, the once downtrodden franchise is leading the league.

If you look at the line-ups on paper, you’d say that the Elasto Painters have no business being at the top of the standings. The only player in there that could be considered a PBA superstar is Gabe Norwood; which is quite a stretch as his numbers pale in comparison with the other superstars in the league. They have a tremendous rookie in Paul Lee, a shooter in Jeff Chan, and a do-it all import in Jamelle Cornley. After that it’s a bunch of role players: a couple of wide-bodied big guys, ball handlers, and swingmen; all of them tough and have no qualms about doing the dirty work.

A line-up like that is not supposed to be leading the league. They’re not supposed to go into the semis with one foot already in the Finals. They should not be beating teams that have far superior talents. Yet they are and they look tremendous doing it.

Screw the script
For the past two years in the PBA, the tale has been familiar. Talk ‘N Text makes it to the Finals to win it all or one of the other power-house teams, Petron and B-Meg, take it from them. That has been the storyline of the PBA and the Elasto Painters are out to put a stop to it.

How exactly did they do it? Well, they did it the right way.

Talk ‘N Text, Petron, and even B-Meg have benefitted from not so equal trades that made them super teams. The second fives of these three teams can actually beat the first five of some of the league’s other teams.

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Talk ‘N Text basically got Ryan Reyes and Kelly Williams for free from a free-falling Sta. Lucia franchise. Petron traded for Rabeh Al Hussaini, Noy Baclao, and Rey Guevarra from Air 21. When it didn’t work out, they shipped Al Hussaini and Guevarra to Powerade for a future superstar in Marcio Lassiter. B-Meg received a MVP contender in Joe Devance for a couple of role players.

This is something the Elasto Painters have not done. In fact, it is quite the opposite. They traded away a borderline superstar in Sol Mercado and Jay-R Reyes for Beau Belga, Ronnie Matias, and Ronjay Beunafe. Why? Because they do not believe that stockpiling talent is the proper way to a championship. Titles are not won on paper. Champions are not named by having the most “names” on your lineup. This whole mantra is spearheaded by their fiery head coach, Yeng Guiao.

NEXT: The voice from the sideline

WORDS BY CARLO PAMINTUAN
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