MANILA, Philippines – The Petron Blaze Boosters and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters tangle anew when they face off in the PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals starting Monday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Petron turned back Rain or Shine when they played in the PBA Governors Cup semis last season, but the Elasto Painters got a modicum of revenge when they beat the Blaze Boosters in the elimination round of the Philippine Cup.
They look to settle the score in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.
“We are ready and excited to start the series,” said RoS coach Yeng Guiao in a PBA.ph report.
Petron coach Gee Abanilla is hoping that star center JunMar Fajardo will be able to work himself back into peak form against the E-Painters, who boast a talented and bruising frontline of their own.
“JunMar is about 90-95% and we’re glad that he’s back on time,” said Abanilla. “We’ll be needing him, (Doug) Kramer and (Yousef) Taha against Rain or Shine.”
The three front-liners will battle against the famed Extra Rice Inc. of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan.
“We expect a long, hard-fought series, and our main concern, and our main concern is our match-up versus Fajardo because of our lack of size,” said Guiao.
But Guiao is optimistic that they can compete against the loaded Petron squad, especially after getting a brief break since they needed only one game to advance to the semi-finals.
“The break gave us time to refresh and get a little rest, although I don’t think we are tired,” Guiao said. “Our confidence is high, and everybody is healthy.”
Game time is at 8 p.m.