MANILA, Philippines-Coach Yeng Guiao is skeptical if Rain or Shine can immediately find an import before its next game after Jordan Tolbert didn’t get to see action for failing to make the height limit in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Elasto Painters suffered a 114-96 loss to the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Wednesday sans Tolbert, who was measured over the maximum cap for the season-ending conference at 6-foot-6.
And with Rain or Shine set to play Saturday against NorthPort in a bid to snap a three-game skid and improve its 2-7 record, getting some to reinforce the team may be easier said than done, according to Guiao.
“We’re not giving up,” Guiao said. “As long as there’s a small chance, we’ll keep fighting, we’ll keep playing. But I’m not really sure what we can do about our import situation on Saturday because we only found out today that our imports can play. I don’t know if we can bring anybody in by Saturday, including all the documentation and the certification, the permits.
“We will prepare to play without an import on Saturday. But at the same time, we will try to bring somebody in if we can get someone,” added Guiao.
It was the second time this conference that Rain or Shine played with an all-local lineup—the first ending on a winning note when Santi Santillan’s layup beat Terrafirma, 120-118, in mid-February after Greg Smith II due to clearance issues.
Smith went down against NLEX with an injury, prompting Rain or Shine to tap Tolbert, who had been playing for the Taichung Suns of Taiwan’s T1 League. Guiao said Tolbert was actually listed at 6-foot-7 but the team decided to take the risk anyway.
Guiao offered some positives despite the defeat, praising his players for the way they played in the fourth quarter when Rain or Shine was able to cut a 21-point deficit to single digits a number of times.
“We actually played decent, especially in the second half,” Guiao said. “To play without an import and lose by eight, I still look at it in a positive way. It’s just that the chips didn’t fall our way and we just have to bite the bullet.”
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