MANILA, Philippines – B-Meg and Rain or Shine meet in a crucial faceoff tonight in a duel of a joint leader and a cellar dweller with the Llamados seeking formal entry into the playoffs and the Elasto Painters fighting for survival in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Wednesday twinbill at the Smart Araneta Coliseum also features Petron Blaze and Barako Bull both trying to pump life in their sagging playoff bids.
The Boosters, now teetering on the brink after dropping their last two games, are playing with a new import in Will McDonald as they take on the Energy in the 5:15 curtain raiser.
McDonald, who took over from Nick Fazekas, is a 6-foot-11 NBA prospect from the University of South Florida who wound up third best leading scorer in the last Chinese Basketball Association tourney.
Petron also shows up with new local recruits in RJ Rizada and Chico Lanete. Rizada was acquired from the San Miguel team in the ABL while Lanete jumped over from Meralco in exchange for Marc Agustin.
The Boosters and the Energy will be breaking a three-way logjam with the Air21 Express at sixth place at 3-4. The winner ties Alaska Milk at fifth going into the last four play dates of the short elimination round.
At 5-2, B-Meg has a shot at the solo lead and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs in its game versus Rain or Shine.
The Llamados hope to be in playoff shape as they expect the Elasto Painters to dish out their best in trying to survive another do-or-die game.
Rain or Shine kept alive its flickering playoff hopes in walloping Air21, 113-83, Friday.
Running and gunning, the Elasto Painters established control early and roared on to the finish, scoring an emphatic victory to stop a three-game slide.
They remain in the cellar, though, still facing a huge catch-up job in order to salvage a spot in the playoffs.
“We’re not losing any hope. Whatever happens, we’ll try to win our next two games,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao said they would rather have a slim chance than no chance at all. And Guiao stressed they would fight for as long as they have a game to play.
The Elasto Painters put on display their fighting spirit as they overwhelmed the Express.
“We played defense. It was our best defensive effort all conference long. And for the first time in a long while, our locals stepped up,” said Guiao.
“We’ve regained our shooting. Hopefully, we sustain that and our win against Air21 provides us the spark,” Guiao added.