MANILA, Philippines – Petron and Rain or Shine kick off their best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup semi-finals series Monday night at the Araneta Coliseum, with the top-seeded Boosters expecting a battle against the defending champion Elasto Painters.
Petron finished the elimination round with an 8-1 record and needed only one game to dispatch the Barangay Ginebra Kings in the quarter-finals.
But head coach Gee Abanilla is expecting a tougher challenge against Rain or Shine, especially as he goes up against former mentor Yeng Guiao.
“Going against this guy is a big challenge. You never know what to expect from him,” said Abanilla of Guiao, whom he worked with in their Red Bull days.
Abanilla said Petron will have to be both physically and mentally tough in order to extend their winning streak against Rain or Shine.
“We are excited about the game. We have to raise our level of play a notch higher and expect a battle against Rain or Shine,” he said. “Being physically and mentally prepared against them is a priority if we want to be successful.”
Meanwhile, Guiao said the Elasto Painters will take it “one game at a time.”
“We can’t afford to look any further,” he said. “We have to look for weaknesses, even if they don’t have one. We have to be strong mentally to make up for their depth and talent, and keep the game close to give ourselves a chance at winning.”
Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee has said he will not play in the series against Petron after suffering an injury in his right calf muscle, thus adding more pressure to veterans like Ryan Arana and Jeff Chan, as well as import Arizona Reid.
After losing their first game of the conference, Petron has been on a roll, with import Elijah Millsap teaming up with reliable locals Arwind Santos, JuneMar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter during their nine-game winning streak.
Petron defeated Rain or Shine, 99-84, in their lone meeting in the elimination round of the Governors' Cup.