Favored Petron, RoS seek semis berths
MANILA, Philippines – The Petron Blaze Boosters and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are the favorites as they play in their respective quarter-finals games Thursday, but both teams remain wary of their dangerous opponents.
The top-seeded Blaze Boosters have won eight consecutive games and own a twice-to-beat advantage, but figure to have a fight on their hands against the Barangay Ginebra Kings, who toppled the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters for the last quarter-finals berth in the Governors Cup.
“Nandito na ang pagkakataon, s’yempre pipilitin namin na huwag itong masayang,” Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said after clinching a berth in the playoffs.
Petron is highly motivated to advance to the semi-finals and end the team’s recent run of mediocrity following their championship in the 2011 Governors’ Cup. Ironically, it was Agustin who steered the Blaze Boosters to the title in that conference.
They dropped their opening game against Meralco in this year’s Governors Cup, but have been on a roll since with import Elijah Millsap and MVP candidate Arwind Santos leading the way.
But Ginebra has shown that it is capable of pulling the rug from under stronger teams, which they did just last conference in upsetting Rain or Shine en route to a Finals appearance.
Game time is at 7:30 pm.
In the first game, the third-seeded Elasto Painters will face GlobalPort , with Rain or Shine needing to win only once to advance to the semi-finals.
Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao stresses that there cannot be any let-up for the Elasto Painters, pointing to their experience against Ginebra last conference when they were eliminated by the Gin Kings despite having a twice-to-beat advantage.
“We had a twice-to-beat advantage in the last conference, and we messed it up. We can’t let it happen again,” Guiao said.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort is making its first-ever playoffs appearance.
“Compete. That would be our battlecry for our series with Rain or Shine,” said GlobalPort head coach Junel Baculi. “They have the experience, and they have been together for a long time. But our team will be out there to prove that they can compete with the best teams.”
Game time is at 5:15 pm.
On Wednesday, the Meralco Bolts advanced to the semi-finals after routing Barako Bull, while the seventh-seeded Alaska Aces forced a winner-take-all showdown against the second-seeded San Mig Coffee Mixers.