MANILA, Philippines -- Powerade's top gun Gary David said he is in peak form and ready for all defenders when his squad begins its semi-finals series against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
David, the PBA's leading scorer with 22.5 points per game, told PBA.ph that he has prepared himself for the Elasto Painters and their defensive plans against him.
"It's going to be a physical game, and I'll be ready. I anticipate what they're saying, that they'll put taller, quicker and physical defenders on me," David said.
Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao admitted that stopping David is among their top concerns, especially after he torched top-seeded B-Meg for over 30 points per game in their quarterfinals match-up.
The Elasto Painters are likely to give former Defensive Player of the Year Gabe Norwood the assignment of stopping David, with Jireh Ibanes and Ryan Arana also getting minutes.
Although he and his team have already made history with their stunning upset of B-Meg, David remains motivated and is eyeing a return to the PBA Finals, a trip he has made only once in his career.
"I made the Finals with Air21 (versus Barangay Ginebra) in 2008. It felt great, and I want to experience that again," he said.
David is Powerade's No. 1 scoring option, but he said Rain or Shine should not focus their preparations on him alone.
"I don't think it's just me against Rain or Shine. Marcio Lassiter, JV Casio and my other teammates are now also in peak form," he said.
According to David, Powerade head coach Bo Perasol has challenged the two rookies, Lassiter and Casio, to perform at a high level in order to help out their leading scorer.
"(Coach Perasol) said Rain or Shine's defense on me will open up if they do their thing," David said.
Both Lassiter and Casio have made an impact on Powerade's campaign. Lassiter is currently second among all rookies in scoring, with 16.3 points per game; he also averages 5.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest.
Meanwhile, Casio has been a steady floor general, averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 assists per game.
"We're confident Marcio and Casio will rise up to the challenge," David said. "They play like grizzled veterans."