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Rain or Shine boosts firepower


Rain or Shine hires an additional import, making sure that it will have enough firepower when it competes in the William Jones Cup in Taipei from 12 to 20 August.

Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao said they hired 6-foot-10 Nick Evans in a bid to come up with a very potent squad in the prestigious invitational tourney that is making a return after a three-year absence due to Covid pandemic.

A former University of Southern Indiana star, Evans has stellar credentials in a colorful professional career that brought him to countries like Japan, Colombia, Thailand and Lebanon.

He averaged 10.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19 games for Cimmarones del Choco in the Colombia-Liga WPlay where the team made it as far as the quarterfinals before bowing to Piratas del Bogota in a best-of-three series.

He will start practicing on Monday and will join the squad that will leave for Taiwan on Friday.

Guiao said they are bringing in the veteran journeyman to make sure that the team bannered by naturalized player Ange Kouame with young stars like Rey Nambatac, Gian Mamuyac, Shaun Ildefonso and Andrei Caracut with veterans Mac Belo, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga stands a chance against some of the best club teams in Asia.

“The competition is tough so the management decided to bring in another import. He’s coming in by the weekend to join us for our practice on Monday,” Guiao said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“We’re going to have to cram and train for a few days then we will play in the Jones Cup. There’s been a lot of pressure since the previous team became champions but we saw them have around four to five imports so our team will be organic.”

A total of nine teams are seeing action in the Jones Cup.

Guiao said the national teams of Iran, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Taipei (Teams A and B) are competing alongside the Japan U-20 team, a United States team represented by the University of California-Irvine and reigning Korean Basketball League and East Asia Super League champion Anyang KGC bannered by former National Basketball Association player Omari Spellman.

“Let’s see if we can compete. We’ll represent the country the best way we can,” Guiao said during the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Milo, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Hopes are high on the Elasto Painters after Mighty Sports, led by imports Renaldo Balkman, Zach Graham, Hamady N’Diaye and McKenzie Moore, went undefeated in eight games to clinch the title in the previous staging of the event in 2019.

Guiao, who also gained the support of Rain or Shine owners Terry Que and Raymond Yu during the 18th Asian Games in 2019, said playing in the Philippine Basketball Association On Tour helped them prepare for the Jones Cup.

“It’s a big deal. After the PBA On Tour, we were supposed to have a three-week break to prepare for the conference but I made it only a one-week break for the Jones Cup,” Guiao said.

“Boss Terry and Boss Raymond are tried and tested. Once you tell them they need the team for an international tournament, they don’t need to think twice about it.”

He stressed that they are open to adding 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto to the roster if he wants to.

Sotto, after all, has yet to join Gilas Pilipinas in its buildup for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“We don’t want to approach Kai at the moment so we want them to sort things out first,” he said.

“But Kai is close to us as his father is my assistant coach for Rain or Shine. If they want him to join us, we’re open to it.”

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