MANILA, Philippines – Petrong swingman Chris Lutz said the Blaze Boosters must put a premium on their defense if they want to draw first blood against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semi-final showdown Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The E-Painters are on a franchise-record eight-game winning streak, and Lutz is expecting a highly physical showdown against the bruising squad.
“It’s going to be tough against Rain or Shine. They’re on a good roll right now, so we just have to do well on our pick-and-roll defense because they have a lot of shooters,” said Lutz in a PBA.ph report.
“We have to put a lot of bodies on them,” he added.
Lutz sees a lot of similarities between his team and the Elasto Painters, who overtook the Blaze Boosters late in the elimination round for the second spot in the team standings.
“Both teams play well together,” he noted. “We don’t care who is the leading scorer for the team, and we like to give the extra passes.”
“That’s huge, and that’s why I think both teams are in the semi-finals,” he added. “They’re playing so well. They got a deep bench, and we also have a deep bench. They got scorers and everything, and that’s the same with us.”
The one advantage that Petron has over Rain or Shine is center JunMar Fajardo, who will nevertheless encounter a stiff challenge from “Extra Rice Inc.” duo of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan.
“Hopefully, we can score better in the post than they can,” said Lutz.
Game 1 tips off at 8 p.m. tonight.