MANILA, Philippines—Rain Or Shine tries to keep its second-running position when the Elasto Painters collide with the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“They’re one of the teams chasing us down, so it’s important to stop them on their tracks,” said Rain Or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who is hoping to boost the
E-Painters card to 8-3 in the 7:30 p.m. game.
With a 6-4 record, B-Meg can forge a tie for third with Rain or Shine and idle Petron Blaze with a victory.
Shopinas.com attempts to pull off victory No. 1 in the first of its last three games in the conference when the Clickers tackle the skidding Powerade Tigers in the opening game at 5:15 p.m.
The Clickers (0-11) are hoping to avoid matching Welcoat Paints’ 12 straight losses in the 2007 Philippine Cup. Great Taste (1982 Reinforced Conference) and Country Fair (1984 Reinforced Conference) share the record for consecutive setbacks with 13.
But the task is difficult for the Clickers as the Tigers (3-7) are favored to end a four-game losing streak.
After clobbering the Barangay Ginebra Kings recently, the Llamados will go for a fifth consecutive win while the E-Painters (7-3) are determined to bounce back from an overtime loss to the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in an out-of-town game last Saturday.
“We could have won it, but we got several bad breaks on the calls in the final stretch,” said Guiao. “We showed character and determination, so I’m still confident.
“Our game against B-Meg will be very crucial,” he added. “I can say that we’re not giving up on our bid to finish in the top two.”
B-Meg coach Tim Cone is not looking beyond today’s game, however.
“We’re slowly climbing up the ladder,” he said. “It’s a slow climb but we’re happy. We’re just hoping to get into the top six. The top two is far away but you never know. Strange things happen in the PBA.”
The top two teams after the eliminations will secure a twice-to-beat edge over the seventh- and eighth-ranked clubs in the quarterfinals. Teams finishing third to sixth will go into a couple of best-of-three series.
Size and length pose a problem for the E-Painters, who will rely heavily on Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Ronjay Buenafe, Ryan Arana and rookie Paul Lee.
“I think they’re (Llamados) the tallest team,” said Guiao. “We have a big problem, literally and figuratively. If they settle with their half-court game, we’ll have a problem. We need to run and dictate the game with our transition offense.”
Aside from two-time MVP James Yap, the Llamados can also lean on Kerby
Raymundo, Joe De Vance, PJ Simon, Roger Yap, Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and rookie Mark Barroca.
B-Meg also acquired 6-foot-9 Yancy De Ocampo in a trade with the Kings.