IT has the makings of a playoff game when top contenders Rain or Shine and Meralco clash on Friday in the main game of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
And pumped up as he may going up against a gungho-team that has made the finals two of the last three editions of the all-Filipino conference, Aces coach Alex Compton admitted being a little bit concerned about taking on an Elasto Painters side that is coming off its worst beating so far in the season-opening tournament.
“I don’t like playing Rain or Shine coming off a loss,” said Compton, referring to the Elasto Painters’ 95-85 defeat against TnT in their last outing on Sunday that saw them never recover from a 0-17 start.
“I know TnT played great and they deserve credit for that. But Rain or Shine really plays so well, they’re a tough team, and I know they’ll bounce back.”
The two are right next to each other in the standings, and both remain very much in the hunt for the top two spots entering the playoffs. Alaska is currently running second with a 7-1 record, followed by Rain or Shine at 6-2 for third place.
“Both of us wanted that top two spot,” stressed Compton. “So it’s going to be a sincere playoff game for the fans. I think both teams think of it as a playoff game, so it should be a good and exciting one.”
Game time is at 7 p.m.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao earlier said the team could still afford to lose against TnT, but certainly not this one against Alaska.
“Right now that’s going to be our biggest game of the conference,” said Guiao of the showdown with the Aces. “If we can beat Alaska, we will figure in the semifinal race prominently.”
Whereas Rain or Shine will have Meralco and NLEX for its last two games after Alaska, the Aces will still have to go through leader and defending champion San Miguel on December 16 and dangerous Barako Bull on the 19th, two teams which are both very much in contention.
“I wish they could give us an elementary school team to play with,” Compton kidded about the Aces’ remaining games in the eliminations.
“But seriously, we’ve talked about it all the time and I told them (Aces) if we’re going to make the semis, we really have to earn it,” added the Alaska coach.