MANILA, Philippines – It is safe to stay that Rain or Shine head coach Chris Gavina is now getting ample rest at night.
The 43-year-old mentor bared he lost sleep and resorted to stress eating as the Elasto Painters endured a six-game losing streak in the PBA Philippine Cup – their longest skid in 12 years.
“Going through a six-game losing streak, I did not get much sleep. There was a lot of donut eating, binge eating,” Gavina said with a smile.
Rain or Shine, however, has turned its fortunes around, picking up its third straight win and fourth overall with a 97-82 rout of Terrafirma on Saturday, July 16, to make a last-ditch effort to catch the playoff bus.
The Elasto Painters struggled to close out games this conference, with five of their six consecutive defeats being decided by an average of just 4.6 points.
But Rain or Shine has undergone a major revamp as it averaged a winning margin of 14 points in its three straight triumphs over NLEX, Blackwater, and Terrafirma.
“I wish it came earlier, but it is coming at the right time. Guys are really finding themselves right now and I’m happy with our development,” Gavina said.
“We dealt with a great deal of adversity during this month. We went through a whole month of not winning, and now, three wins in a row.”
The win over Terrafirma also provided the Elasto Painters’ young guns an opportunity to step up as they missed veterans Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga due to health and safety protocols.
Rookie Shaun Ildefonso and sophomores Santi Santillan, Anton Asistio, and Andrei Caracut rose to the occasion as they all scored in double figures.
“It is a high-level league we’re in. It is hard to learn on the fly sometimes for younger players so they just have to go through the fire,” Gavina said.
Securing a playoff spot, though, will be an uphill climb for Rain or Shine as it faces red-hot Magnolia in its last elimination-round game on Wednesday, July 20, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia rides on a five-game winning streak, including wins over perennial playoff teams Barangay Ginebra and Meralco.
“We’ll definitely need all hands on deck against Magnolia,” Gavina said. – Rappler.com