Rain or Shine encountered a challenging hurdle in their opening game of the 42nd Jones Cup, as they fell to host team Chinese Taipei-A with a final score of 98-79 at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium. Despite putting up a valiant effort, the Elasto Painters faced an early setback, that they couldn’t fully recover from.
The Elasto Painters struggled to contain Chinese Taipei-A’s fiery start, which saw them establish a commanding lead of 40-23 in the opening period. Coach Yeng Guiao highlighted the team’s slow start as a significant factor in their defeat. “The first quarter was bad. We gave up 40 points. From there, we couldn’t catch up,” remarked Guiao.
Chinese Taipei-A’s naturalized player, William Artino, and Senegalese-Taiwanese player Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga played pivotal roles in the host team’s explosive opening period, combining for 27 points. Artino finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Gadiaga contributed 22 points.
Despite the loss, Andrei Caracut emerged as a standout for the Elasto Painters, registering 18 points, while naturalized player Ange Kouame added 16 points in a commendable individual performance.
Rain or Shine has a brief 24-hour turnaround before facing Chinese Taipei B on Sunday, allowing them to regroup and bounce back from their opening game defeat.
The Rain or Shine basketball team embarked on their journey to Chinese Taipei with a realistic perspective for their campaign in the 42nd Jones Cup. As the Elasto Painters face formidable competition, coach Yeng Guiao acknowledged that replicating the championship feat of their predecessor, Mighty Sports, is a challenging goal. Guiao emphasized that a podium finish is a more attainable objective for the team co-owned by Raymund Yu and Terry Que.
Guiao recognized the distinct circumstances surrounding their campaign, noting that previous championship success was achieved with a strong lineup of imports. He explained, “It’s hard to say we can replicate the national team’s success from the past, as they won with many imports around.” Mighty Sports, for instance, boasted five imports during their championship run in 2019.
Nonetheless, Guiao expressed optimism about the team’s potential. He suggested that achieving a second or third-place finish might be a more realistic target for Rain or Shine. The team’s core includes veteran players Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, and Rey Nambatac, as well as reinforcements Ange Kouame and Nick Evans.
Rain or Shine’s journey in the Jones Cup is lined with tough matchups against various teams, including United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Iran. The team’s tenacity, dedication, and realistic goals set the tone for participating in the prestigious basketball tournament.
The Jones Cup format dictates that the team with the highest number of wins will be declared the champion at the end of the competition. Rain or Shine’s journey is characterized by their willingness to embrace challenges, foster growth, and showcase their commitment to Philippine basketball internationally.