'Rain', San Mig relive rivalry; TnT vs Barako
MANILA, Philippines - Reigning champion Talk n Text stakes its clean slate versus dangerous Barako Bull even as Governors Cup title protagonists Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee meet in what promises to be an explosive rematch in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.
The four teams seeing action are the early frontrunners in the all-Filipino tourney and all are going all out to sustain their fine start.The Tropang Texters and the Energy Cola clash in the 5:15 p.m. curtain-raiser then the Elasto Painters and the Mixers slug it out at 7:30 p.m.
The Texters are unbeaten in four games, gaining tremendous boost in their 85-74 drubbing of the Mixers Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
"I really felt that was our first big test and I think we did a very good job, especially playing defense in the fourth quarter," said TnT coach Norman Black.
The Energy Cola also played big the last time out, likewise drawing huge psychological lift on their 92-82 lacing of the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
"Talk n Text is the best team right now. They're very difficult to beat because of their offensive weapons, but not unbeatable," said Barako coach Junel Baculi.
"We have to play tough, good defense to smother their weapons. It's again a big test if we really can compete with the top teams," Baculi added.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee face each other for the first time after their classic Governors Cup title duel.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao considers the game a part of a crucial stretch that could define their conference.
"I really feel this is a crucial stretch – three tough games in eight games. If we do well, we gain tremendous momentum," Guiao said.
The Elasto Painters have got past the Globalport Batang Pier last Saturday. After the Alaska Aces, the E-Painters will be up next against the Texters Saturday.
For San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, the main thing is to get through the early season proper with their health woes.
"The key for us is to just keep battling and weather the storm," said Cone.
While still awaiting the return of JC Intal, the Mixers lost another key player to health problem in Marc Pingris.
The energetic 6-foot-4 forward was in civvies as the Mixers bowed to the Tropang Texters, 74-85, Saturday.
"Rain or Shine is always a difficult team to play when you’re trying to bounce back from a tough loss, but that is the challenge in front of us," said Cone.
Cone is hopeful, however, his troops can rise up to the test. "We have enough left in our lineup to still be successful," he said.