MANILA, Philippines – The absence of GlobalPort’s star guard Sol Mercado briefly threw the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for a loop, but they quickly recovered and defeated the Batang Pier, 98-87, in their PBA Philippine Cup showdown on Sunday.
Mercado sat out the contest due to a strained left Achilles tendon, much to the disappointment of Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao.
“It’s really a win that we wanted badly, because we lost to the same team the first time we played them,” Guiao told PBA.ph, referring to GlobalPort’s 90-88 victory over Rain or Shine in early December.
“It (the win) would have been more satisfying if Sol was playing,” he added. “We prepared a game plan defensively against Sol, because he really created problems for us that first time.”
Mercado’s absence was a surprise, but Guiao said it worked out in his team’s favor.
“Biglang wala siya, kaya nagulat kami, but at the same time it was a lucky break for us,” he said.
The victory over GlobalPort was Rain or Shine’s fourth straight, keeping them within striking distance of Barangay Ginebra and Petron in the league standings.
“Our goal is to keep ourselves live for a top two (spot), and we’ll see what happens,” Guiao said. “We’re on a winning run, and we hope we can sustain this run we’re having.”