Complementing Johnson with shooting key to deep playoff run, says Garcia

Special Olympics athlete Matthew Millett of Team USA with the 3/4 court buzzer beater!

For Rain or Shine to be able to mount a deep run in the playoffs, the rest of the team will have to continuously and consistently provide import Reggie Johnson with adequate leeway and support.

That’s as much as head coach Caloy Garcia could say about the tweaks that his team, who’s currently on top of the standings with a 5-1 record, should make moving forward in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

He’s been particularly impressed so far with Johnson’s performance, but noted that things would be easier for the burly big man if they simply knocked down their shots.

“With Reggie (Johnson) kasi, he attracts the defense. In order for him to be a better scorer inside, we have to be consistent from outside,” Garcia said.

Rain or Shine has enough shooters to go around, but the problem lately has been knocking the down. Only three players attempting more than two threes per game have knocked down over 35 percent of their threes (Chris Tiu at 43 percent, James Yap at 41 percent, Jay Washington at 36 percent).

Meanwhile, the former Best Import awardee in the Asean Basketball League has been the perfect inside presence that addressed the Elasto Painters’ needs at center. Johnson’s averaging 25.0 points and 17.1 rebounds on 52 percent shooting from the field.

One underrated aspect of his game has been his passing. He’s norming 3.8 assists per game and has often found shooters in the post or cutters from the elbow.

“If Reggie isn’t doubled, he can take anyone one on one. If he’s doubled naman, he’ll find an open guy elsewhere. He’s keeping us steady with the way he’s playing inside,” the head coach continued.

The extended break should help the team work on these under-the-hood fixes. Rain or Shine’s next game won’t come until June 2, so Garcia and his wards will have ample time to set their priorities.

“The focus right now is how to get better as a team. Una, target naming kada game is to make 10-11 threes. And of course, just getting ready to build forward as we move along in the conference,” he said.

“Marami pang dadaanan. We need to go through (Arinze) Onuaku and Meralco, (June Mar) Fajardo, (Renaldo) Balkman and SMB, and Joshua Smith and TNT. We have to be a better team than before,” Garcia added.