MANILA, Philippines - The Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Elasto Painters mix it up at 6:30 p.m. following the 4:15 p.m. tiff between Air21 Express and the Globalport Batang Pier.
The Kings drubbed the Batang Pier, 110-90, in the season opener then the Elasto Painters made their own impressive debut, clobbering the Petron Blaze Boosters, 102-86, on Wednesday.
The two teams are expected to figure in a battle tonight.
"It would be interesting to see how we fare against one of the top teams in the league. It would be a good test for us," said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.
"Ginebra is a new team. They have a good combination of young guns and veterans. The challenge for us is to keep up with them in the open court," said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
"They have new plays in an improved system and it works for them. We have to disrupt their rhythm with our defense and prevent the young guys from getting their confidence early," added Guiao.
Ginebra had a relatively easy time disposing of newcomer GlobalPort, making good use of its advantage on bench depth, experience and chemistry.
But Rain or Shine made an even bigger impact in crushing the highly fancied Petron Blaze team.
"As I said before the game, this is the best time to play Petron when they're still in transition, learning the new system under a new coach. They will be very dangerous in three to four games," said Guiao, downplaying the impact of their win.
The Elasto Painters started their 2012-13 season in style even minus the injured Paul Lee and despite the early ouster of Beau Belga and Chris Tiu on a technical infraction and an injured hamstring, respectively.
Tiu, Rain or Shine's lone new player for the new PBA season, suffered a hamstring injury early in the game Wednesday and may be out for the next six weeks.
No doubt, the Elasto Painters have gained much confidence from their Governors Cup championship, and it showed in their unwavering performance against Petron.
"There's the poise and confidence gained by our players from our championship. They’re playing together," said Guiao.
Jones Cup heroes Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood delivered in their Rain or Shine comeback and the whole team simply played tough, giving Petron top draft pick Junmar Fajardo a rude welcome in the pro league.