MANILA, Philippines - Rain or Shine takes on another tough rival in Meralco tonight, seeking to regain a share of the lead and secure virtual entry into the PBA Governors Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After a four-game romp, the Elasto Painters hit the wall, absorbing a 98-104 loss to the Powerade Tigers Friday. They were relegated to second place as B-Meg topped Alaska Milk Wednesday.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, however, is hopeful they learned lessons from their loss to the Tigers and they can rebound versus the Bolts in their 5:15 p.m. matchup.
“Sometimes a loss can be better for a team than a win, especially in the long run. The loss gave us a new resolve to work even harder in our next games,” said Guiao. “After four wins, we have taken some things for granted. Our game versus Meralco will be the test of this new resolve.”
Meralco, however, can well give a good challenge especially with a renewed confidence and determination generated by the arrival of new import Mario West.
The four-year NBA veteran debuted in the local pro league with 33 points, and the Bolts snapped a three-game skid, besting the Alaska Milk Aces, 100-95, Sunday.
“Our win against Alaska was an encouraging sign,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, hoping they can get going versus Rain or Shine.
“It’s a must-win situation for us to avoid extinction. We can not afford to relax knowing that a loss can dampen our chances. Team effort is required to beat a formidable Rain or Shine squad,” Gregorio said.
Meanwhile, Powerade and Barangay Ginebra both try to stay close with the leaders as they slug it out at 7:30 p.m.
It’s an exciting contest with an elite matchup between Philippine Cup Best Player Gary David and Commissioner’s Cup MVP Mark Caguioa.
David and the Tigers are riding the crest of a three-game streak while Caguioa and the Kings are revved up by a win over the formidable Petron Blaze team Sunday.
They are tied with the Barako Bull Energy at third place with identical 3-2 win-loss slates going to the match.
“If we do what are being asked of us, we can be in a position to grab a win and improve our standing,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol.
“Powerade can score in so many ways. We need to limit their good looks at the basket and make sure we take care of the ball on the offensive end,” said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.
The Tigers have never dropped a game since the arrival of import replacement Omar Sneed, stringing up three straight wins versus the Alaska Milk Aces, the Talk n Text Tropang Texters and the RoS Elasto Painters.
Gary David poured in 30 points – his 19th straight game with at least 20 – and the Tigers roared on with their six-point triumph over the erstwhile unbeaten Elasto Painters.
“Our motivation was great. We wanted to be the first to beat the unbeaten team,” said Perasol after that game.
Mark Caguioa, meanwhile, fueled a key run by Ginebra coming off the bench in the last six minutes as the Kings stopped the Boosters, 83-80, two nights later.
On a win-loss-win-loss run, Ginebra will again be out to notch its first successive victories in the season-ending.
“(The tourney’s) down the stretch and we have to make a run. I’m hopeful as I believe we’re getting there,” said Tanquingcen.