RAIN or Shine tries to send Magnolia to the so-called ‘deep hole’ today as they clash in the crucial Game 3 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A team that falls into deep 0-3 hole in a best-of-7 series has very little chances of getting out of it – something that the Hotshots will have to avoid.
In the rich, colorful history of the PBA, only San Miguel Beer managed to come back from 0-3 down to win the series and that happened during the 2016 Philippine Cup finals versus Alaska.
Sadly, the Hotshots are teetering on the verge of falling down on that trap after losing the first two outings, and unless they find the right antidote to the Painters’ top-level play, they might as well kiss their finals hope goodbye.
Last Sunday, the Elasto Painters made it two-in-a-row over the Hotshots with a 93-80 victory in Game 2.
That win was relatively easier than the 84-77 Game 1 win which the Painters posted after a long rest.
“Napakinabangan nila ng husto ang No. 2 seeding nila,” said the Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
By finishing top 2 after the 11-game eliminations, the Elasto Painters needed to win just once over their quarterfinals foe which they did, thereby availing themselves of a long rest after that quarterfinal win.
As for the Hotshots, they played three tough games versus Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals, before heading for the semifinal wars.
Needless to say, the Hotshots will have to show their best effort in the 7 p.m. encounter which they need to win before the league takes a Lenten break.
The Philippine Cup is the only jewel which the Painters have not won in the PBA.
Their first title was the Governors’ Cup which they won during the 2012 season. Their only other title is the Commissioner’s Cup which they won in 2016. On both occasions, their coach was Yeng Guiao.
The Painters seemed well focused on this prestigious conference which they failed to win in the two times they made the finals. During 2013, they were swept by Talk ‘N Text in the finals, 4-0, and in 2014 they were defeated interestingly by SanMig Coffee (now Magnolia) in the course of their grand slam run.
When they won Game 1, it was Javee Mocon who shone brightest among the Painters. Then in last Sunday’s Game 2, Rain or Shine sprung another surprise on Magnolia by unleashing Norbert Torres and Ed Daquioag who delivered the big baskets.
“At the start of the season, I told them to trust one another. During the eliminations, bihira namin gamitin sila Rey at Ed. We talked about it and I told them you have to be ready because every game, everybody has to come out,” said RoS coach Caloy Garcia.