San Mig Coffee vs Rain or Shine: 2014 PBA Governor’s Cup Finals Preview
The San Mig Super Coffee (SMC) Mixers is gunning to be just the fourth team in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to achieve a rare season grand slam. However, a familiar adversary stands on their way to achieving this – the Rain or Shine (RoS) Elastopainters.
RoS finished the elimination round at second place (6-3) while SMC was ranked fourth (5-4). Curiously, the Elastopainters gained the second seed by defeating the Mixers 95-94 in their lone elimination round game.
Held last June 16, SMC head coach Tim Cone decided to sit out star players James Yap and Mark Barroca for most of the game to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
Yap and Barroca merely had 8 and 6 points respectively but RoS only won through a last-second shot by import Arizona Reid. The Mixers bounced back and dispatched San Miguel Beermen in their quarterfinals match the following night.
Personally, I preferred the Alaska to be SMC’s finals opponent for this conference. There’s just so much story line there.
Cone, of course, coached the Alaska squad from 1989 to 2011, winning 13 titles there. The highlight of his tenure is the 1996 season when Alaska became just the third franchise in history to win the grand slam. Will Alaska be able to stop the Mixers from achieving what they did 18 years ago?
Also, the head-to-head collision between Cone, a man with 17 championships, and the Aces’ neophyte coach Alex Compton will also be interesting to watch.
Oh, and have we mentioned yet that both Americans gained permanent resident status in the country via marriage? 😉
Nevertheless, the upcoming best-of-five finals duel between the Mixers and the Elastopainters will also have its interesting sidelights.
It must be remembered that this will already be the third finals showdown between these two teams in a span of just seven conferences.
Thy first met during the 2012 Governor’s Cup finals. The Elastopainters won three of the first four games in the best-of-seven series.
At one point, Cone got so frustrated that in the fourth quarter of Game 1, he threw a monobloc chair in the playing court and was subsequently ejected. Watch that below:
The Mixers, then playing as the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados, managed to force a Game 7 by winning the next two games.
RoS however managed to win the title, their first in franchise history, by winning Game 7, 83-76. Llamados import Marqus Blakely was was called for his sixth and final foul with still six minutes left in the game, greatly weakening his teams’ inside presence.
Cone and his squad got some measure of revenge early this year when they met the Elastopainters anew for the 2014 Philippine Cup finals.
The Mixers won the series 4-2, with three of these six games decided by three points or less. RoS head coach Yeng Guiao repeatedly slammed game officials during the series.
PREDICTION: Look at how the semifinals played out. SMC Mixers had to face an extremely powerful Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters squad and yet they could’ve finished the series as early as Game 4.
The Elastopainters on the other hand faced an injury-depleted Alaska Aces team. Yet, they were only one possession away from getting eliminated on both Games 4 and 5. For this reason, The Filipino Scribe predicts that the Mixers will win the Governor’s Cup title in four games.
Postscript: Speaking of the Tropang Texters. They were actually the last team to be in a position to win the season grand slam. They were one win away from doing so during the 2011 Governor’s Cup but the Petron Blaze Boosters won Game 7 of their championship series, 85-73.
InterAksyon.com wrote that the Boosters “visibly had more energy left in the do-or-die game” in contrast with the Tropang Texters who have lost steam “with the long season taking a toll on them.” Will the Mixers experience the same problem?