PBA: Rain or Shine braces for tough closing stretch

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 08 2020 02:31 PM

PBA: Rain or Shine braces for tough closing stretch 1
Rain or Shine's Sidney Onwubere powers past Matt Salem of the Blackwater Elite. PBA Media Bureau. 

MANILA, Philippines -- The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters boosted their playoff bid on Sunday afternoon after claiming an 82-71 win over the Blackwater Elite, but they haven't secured their place in the Top 8 just yet.

With Javee Mocon making big plays in the fourth quarter, Rain or Shine snapped a three-game slide and improved to 5-4 with two games left in their elimination round schedule.

At the moment, they are bunched in a four-way tie for fifth to eighth places, along with San Miguel Beer, Meralco, and Magnolia. Giving chase are the NLEX Road Warriors, who are a game behind with a 4-5 win-loss slate.

"We're just looking to make it to the playoffs," said ROS coach Caloy Garcia after their win on Sunday. "From there, maybe we can pull some upsets."

Already assured of playoff berths are Barangay Ginebra, TNT, Phoenix Super LPG, and Alaska. The Gin Kings and the Tropang Giga both have seven wins, while the Fuel Masters and the Aces have six each. 

Needing at least one more win to gain passage to the playoffs, Rain or Shine is bracing for a difficult schedule to close out the elimination round. They return to action on Tuesday against TNT, after which they take on Phoenix Super LPG on Wednesday.

"We play 'N Text and Phoenix back-to-back, and those are the top three teams in the league right now. So you know, you play Talk 'N Text, they're gonna try to grind it out with you, they're gonna get you tired," said Garcia.

"Then, the next day, it's the same thing against Phoenix, so I think it's just more of other players stepping up, you know," he added.

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He acknowledges that they will most likely lack time to prepare against the Fuel Masters, but Garcia is hopeful that they can be more ready against the Tropang Giga.

"It's gonna be tough," he admitted. 

"For sure, tomorrow, we'll just give them like light shooting drills, just walk through. Wala ng mga scrimmages or anything," he added. "I think it's more of mental toughness na siguro dito to prepare against two tough teams."