Painters, Llamados face off for No. 1
MANILA, Philippines - B-Meg and Rain or Shine fight for an outright finals seat while Barangay Ginebra and Talk n Text battle for a playoff for the other berth in a blockbuster doubleheader capping the tightly fought PBA Governors Cup semifinal round at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The Llamados, in pursuit of a second straight finals appearance, and the Elasto Painters, in chase of a first ever finale, face off first at 5:15 p.m. breaking their tie atop the leaderboard for the coveted slot.
The winner emerges as the semis topnotcher and automatically advances to the best-of-seven title playoff. The loser will meet the winner of the Ginebra-Talk n Text tiff in a sudden death Friday for the other championship seat.
The Kings and the Tropang Texters, tied at 8-5, clash at 7:30 p.m.
The Elasto Painters, who dominated the elims with an 8-1 (win-loss) card, have suddenly found themselves in a delicate situation after losing three of their first four games in the semis.
Coach Yeng Guiao, however, remains hopeful they can achieve their goal of giving the Asian Coatings Inc. franchise a shot at a PBA title.
"This could be the biggest game of our franchise, bigger perhaps than our Game Seven in the all-Filipino semis (earlier this year)," said Guiao.
"We have blown several chances of making the finals for the first time. I'm positive we won’t let this opportunity slip by us," Guiao added.
The fiery RoS mentor is confident of their chances against B-Meg despite injuries to Paul Lee (sprained ankle) and Jeff Chan (dislocated shoulder).
B-Meg coach Tim Cone braces his team for a tough battle, saying: "We need to put a complete game. Yeng Guiao's team never gives an inch. Neither can we."
Ginebra and Talk n Text can only be expected to go all-out, too in battle for survival.
The Texters hope to sustain the momentum of their three-game romp while the Kings seek to bounce back from their sorry loss to the Llamados Sunday.
Ginebra came out flat versus B-Meg, held to a pitiful 32.9-percent shooting.
Averaging 21.3 points before that game, Ginebra top gun Mark Caguioa scored only three points on 0-of-12 field shooting and 3-of-4 charities.
"Our big consolation was that it happened in that game, not in a knockout game. We hope to recover Wednesday (today)," said Ginebra assistant coach Allan Caidic.
As in their last few games, the Texters are playing with a lot of caution.
"Our situation hasn’'t changed. We need to come out tougher (today) as we play a team that is also fighting for their lives," said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes.
Talk n Text import Paul Harris, in his second conference in the local pro league, is aware Ginebra is very dangerous in this kind of game.
"Ginebra is the most dangerous of them all. It's going to be tough," said Harris.