Vital Sunday doubleheader

March 02, 2019
Calvin Abueva
Calvin Abueva of Phoenix takes a fadeaway shot against Bryan Cruz of Alaska in the first period of their game on Friday night. The Fuel Masters won this one. (PBA Images)

CERTAINLY, no team doesn’t want to suffer stinging setbacks in the playoffs and put to waste what it worked hard for in the elimination.

No wonder, Rain or Shine and the other teams in the upper half of the standings are scrambling to get the top two slots after the 11-game eliminations in the PBA Philippine Cup.

These top two teams get the reward of having to win only once in the quarterfinal round – something that the Elasto Painters are working really hard for.

“Hindi naman pwedeng magaling tayo sa eliminations but when it comes to the next round matatalo ka lang,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.

Indeed, it is better to have that twice-to-beat advantage, and the Elasto Painters are keen on getting just that which they could clinch if they beat Talk ‘N Text today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“Ang target namin, really, is to get to the top two para at least malaki iyung advantage namin doon in the next round,” stressed Garcia.

The Elasto Painters collide with the KaTropa in the 4:30 p.m. opening tussle of an interesting double-header that will also see Alaska and Barangay Ginebra clash in the main offering at 6:30 p.m.

The Elasto Painters won their first two outings, but fell in ambush to Blackwater, 111-99, on January 30. Since then however, the Painters have rebounded mightily and are now on a roll with five straight wins capped by a 75-74 nipping of Magnolia Hotshots last Feb. 13.

“Basically, if we want to make it far we have to be consistent,” said Garcia after that win over the Hotshots.

The Painters will be gunning for their eighth win in nine outings which Caloy said is what they ‘technically need’ to have a chance for the top two.

Currently, the Painters are in a tie with Phoenix Pulse at the top, and a win today will give them the solo lead in the crucial phase of the elimination.

TNT meanwhile is a team that cannot be taken for granted because the kaTropa are badly needing every win they could get to improve their current 4-3 slate and TNT coach Bong Ravena admits the daunting task facing his team today.

“Playing against Rain or Shine will not be easy,” said Ravena on the eve of the match. “We have to be physically and mentally tough going to the game. Defense is a must.”