THIS is where Rain or Shine’s mettle would be truly put to an acid test.
The undermanned and battered Elasto Painters take on TNT today, seeking to bolster their bid for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
San Miguel Beer duels NorthPort in the nightcap, with the Beermen seeking to end the eliminations with a win that would boost their bid for one of the top four slots and a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.
The match is a no-bearing one for the Batang Pier, who have been eliminated from the playoffs but should be spurred on by the need to salvage some pride in an otherwise futile campaign.
A loss could have disastrous repercussions for SMB, since it could be caught and even be overtaken by previous tormentor NLEX. But coach Leo Austria is not thinking about that yet.
“Kapag nanalo we have a chance to make it to the top four,” said Austria. “That’s why it’s a crucial game for us. Parang start na ng quarterfinals namin ‘yung laro bukas, parang best-of-three na for us. We need to win twice para makapasok na sa semifinals.”
Currently last among the eight teams that have inside tracks for slots in the next round, ain or Shine must not only prevail against the Tropang Giga but also against Phoenix Super LPG at eliminations end tomorrow to hit its target.
Firmly lodged at the top with Ginebra, TNT has already clinched not only a top four finish
but would like nothing more than to bounce back from a sorry loss to the Kings and bring with it sharp form into the next round.
E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia has a clear idea of what to expect, not only from the Tropa but from the Fuel Masters as well.
“Playing Talk N Text, they’re gonna try to grind it out with you, they’re gonna get you tired. Then the next thing is the same against Phoenix,” said Garcia.