PBA: Coach's Decision

Manila, Philippines - Unless you have been into coaching, chances are you would not truly understand the ploy the B-Meg coach Tim Cone did during game three of the PBA Governors Cup Finals.

Then again, there are the "what if" questions that come into mind. And this had something to do on why coach Cone chose to stick with an uncanny five on the hardwood rather than use his regular stars down the stretch.

While this is not to steal the thunder from under the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters who went up 2-1 after 93-84 victory in game three of the PBA finals, many people believe that the outcome may have been different if James Yap, Peter June Simon and Marqus Blakey were on the court in the early parts of the fourth quarter.

But the thing is, the Llamados were staring at an 18-point deficit which many believed were insurmountable at this point.

However, with a five composed of Jonas Villanueva, Jerwin Gaco, Yancy De Ocampo, Val Acuna and Josh Urbiztondo, the Llamados were able to whittle down the lead to as low as 9 points at one point.

It was during this stretch that many questioned the three-point shot attempts by Val Acuna. What if it was James Yap who had taken those attempts?

Indeed, the percentage of making them would have been higher but floating on whether they would have been made.

Blakely and Marc Pingris did come into the game during that run but the two were unable to blend in well with Villanueva and the remaining players on the floor.

Add to that the fact that RoS coach Yeng Guiao started to bring back his starters to ensure that this one would not get away from them, all the more clouds the probabilities of what would have happened.

Cone bared that his players were tired from playing 5 games in 10 days. And considering their prior series was against crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals, there was no doubt that coach Cone's boys are close to being burned out.

Yap is also nursing a back injury so the health and stamina factor is further pulled down. Simon has just recuperated from an injury and so with Pingris.

But the hardest decision to understand for most was to replace a unit which was playing so well. Villanueva, Gaco and De Ocampo were indeed playing well and to pull out an effective unit would have drawn violent reactions on why they would have been pulled out when in fact they were the ones who brought B-Meg back from the grave.

Also do take note, the series is not won in game three and that going into game three, the teams were tied. The extended rest would be a big help to coach Tim's wards and perhaps that was what he had in mind as well as looking for other players who would step up in the upcoming games.

On the part of Rain or Shine, they showed that they can get the job done even without rookie sensation Paul Lee.

Lee went down with an injury and will most likely be out for the rest of the series.

And while many believed this would be a handicap, the Elasto Painters proved otherwise.

Led by Jeff Chan and best import awardee Jamelle Cornley, RoS played cohesively all game long after enjoying just a two-point lead at the half.

Jireh Ibanes was a revelation together with the likes of Ryan Arana, TY Tang and Beau Belga. They were among the many people who filled in the shoes of the injured Lee, on both ends of the court.

A 2-1 lead is nothing but if the Painters continue their brilliant play and rack in two more wins, then their aim of making history and pinning their first PBA crown will be accomplished.

But B-Meg, a team oozing with talent and a team known in championship experience cannot be counted out just yet.

They are expected to rebound come Sunday but coach Yeng Guiao and the Elasto Painters are surely expecting this.

A win on Sunday by RoS will push them to a 3-1 series lead, a hole that coach Tim Cone and company will surely not want to be in.


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