MANILA, Philippines — Rampaging Rain or Shine seeks to retake the driver’s seat when it collides with skidding Alaska today while Meralco and San Miguel Beer aim to stay within striking distance in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The unbeaten Elasto Painters (3-0) meet the Aces (1-2) at 3 p.m., eyeing to break free from idle Magnolia Hotshots (3-0) to reclaim the solo lead nearing the halfway of the single round-robin elimination round.
Only a few spots behind are the Beermen (2-1) and the Bolts (2-1), who want no let-up against winless Blackwater Bossing (0-3) and Phoenix Super LPG (1-2) at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, to boost their drives in the upper half of the 12-team field.
Under the watch of new tactician Chris Gavina, it’s been a defensive clinic so far for the gritty Rain or Shine that has held its first three opponents including the previously unbeaten Bolts to under 40-percent shooting clip.
The E-Painters made the Bolts bleed for a measly 38-percent mark en route to an 85-72 win over the weekend. Today, they want the Aces to fall on their traps, too.
“The great Bobby Knight said that the most prepared teams are the hardest-working teams. So that coincides with who we are and what our identity is. We want to be the hardest working team in the PBA,” said Gavina, who took over from Caloy Garcia in the offseason.
San Miguel Beer, on the other hand, is out to step on the pedal, slowly but surely catapulted by two straights wins to shore up its bid for redemption after being dethroned as the five-time All-Filipino kings last year.
“I hope we can continue this momentum,” said coach Leo Austria, bracing for a tough three-game stretch starting with the listless yet hungry Blackwater today before taking on sibling rivals Ginebra and Magnolia next.
The Beermen, who will still miss ace guard Terrence Romeo due to a knee injury, are coming off a tough 88-86 win over the Greg Slaughter-led Northport side on an Arwind Santos game-winner.
Meanwhile, Meralco will be up for a huge task of getting back on track opposite a rejuvenated Phoenix squad that finally barged into winner’s circle with a huge 101-93 win over Alaska.