Coaches pick TNT as slight favorites over RoS
MANILA, Philippines – Most of the coaches in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) believe the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters will edge the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a tough series in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
According to a report from the PBA website, most of the league’s coaches see the Texters’ talented roster, championship experience and motivation as the primary factors in picking them to beat the Painters in a best-of-seven series.
The two coaches who lost in the semi-finals, Tim Cone of the San Mig Coffee Mixers and Luigi Trillo of the Alaska Aces, are both picking the Texters to win, although they warn against counting out Yeng Guiao’s Elasto Painters.
“It’s hard for me to doubt Rain or Shine,” said Cone, whose team lost to the Painters in six games. “But Talk ‘N Text just seems to play clutch basketball. They don’t crack.”
“If you press me, I’ll say TNT in six games, but that’s really just a guess,” he added.
“Tough one. Too close to call. Both have experienced coaches and both teams are playing well,” said Trillo. “I would have to go with Talk ‘N Text if I was put on the spot.”
“Rain or Shine won’t make it easy though. It should go six or seven games.”
The Texters eliminated the Aces in six games in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Ryan Gregorio of the Meralco Bolts and new GlobalPort coach Junel Baculi both believe the Texters can defend their Philippine Cup title even in the face of a tough Rain or Shine squad.
“Experience, roster power and motivation are the domain of TNT,” said Gregorio. “They’ve been there, done that. The Finals appearance is a testament of how the management has been able to steer the ship towards the right direction, to make them the most successful franchise in the past five years.”
But even as Gregorio called TNT “an envy of other franchises,” he warned the Texters not to take Rain or Shine for granted.
“Their strength relies on teamwork. That is a potent factor which TNT must not take for granted. RoS gate-crashed the Finals once again,” he added.
Meanwhile, new Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua and Petron mentor Olsen Racela gave the Elasto Painters a slight edge because of their size advantage.
“Magandang match-up ito,” said Chua, who was recently tabbed as head coach of the perennial crowd favorites, replacing Siot Tanquingcen.
“Parehong-parheo sa lahat ng positions. The advantage of RoS is the point spot. Expect a lot of post-ups by (Paul) Lee, (Gabe) Norwood and (Chris) Tiu because the points of TNT are much smaller. Pareho na sa ibang spots.”
Chua said that it was difficult to choose between the two squads, but gave a slight edge to Rain or Shine.
Racela, for his part, said he liked Rain or Shine’s chances against the Texters.
“They’ve already gone through so many battles as a team, even winning a championship last conference,” he said. “So, experience won’t be a problem.”
“They also match-up well against TNT in every position. I think a tough, physical series will be a problem against Talk ‘N Text,” Racela added.
The Texters finished the conference with the top seed after amassing a 12-2 win-loss record, while the Elasto Painters finished third at 9-5.
In their lone elimination round game this conference, Talk 'N Text defeated Rain or Shine, 80-77.