Batang Pier vs Barako
by Tito S. Talao
Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
3 p.m. – Globalport vs Barako Bull
5:15 p.m. – San Mig vs Rain or Shine
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine, the second hottest team in the PBA right now, is about to get even hotter – if that is at all possible. Still smoldering from their 99-95 victory over Barako Bull where an on fire Jeff Chan torched the Energy Cola for 7 three-point shots, Rain or Shine faces hobbled San Mig Coffee today in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Gametime is at 5:15 p.m. following the encounter between Globalport and Barako Bull at 3 p.m.
Ongoing at presstime at the MOA Arena is the Petron Saturday Special pitting solo leader Barangay Ginebra against Meralco, and the Boosters against defending champion Talk ‘N Text.
Where the Elasto Painters will find themselves before the night is over will depend on the outcome of the Petron-Talk ‘N Text game, and whether Marc Pingris will continue to miss more Mixers games due to an inflamed knee.
Pingris was in uniform but sat out the game against Alaska two days ago resulting in an 88-75 shelling by the Aces.
Without the 6-foot-3 power rebounder, who was relieved when MRI tests showed swelling but no torn ligament, the Mixers could be steamrollered by the hard-driving Elasto Painters even if wide-bodied Beau Belga remains in recovery from a bout with measles.
Second only to Barangay Ginebra, at this stage, in explosiveness, Rain or Shine has gang-rebounding players who can cover for Belga until he gets well – a luxury the Mixers don’t enjoy.
The two teams had met before on Dec. 6, with Paul Lee unloading a career-high 26 points, including 11 of their last 13, as the E-Painters hammered out an 86-83 victory.
Lee hit two clutch three-pointers that allowed Rain or Shine to pick up its fourth win in five games while handing San Mig its fourth loss against one win.
Pingris had 12 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists in 37 minutes that evening, while Belga had 2, 7 and 2 in 30 minutes.
Coming off a 109-103 overtime loss to Air21, Globalport (4-5) is looking to solidify its playoff spot in the quarterfinals against a desperate opponent seeking to climb out of the rut and a 3-7 card.