BEATING no less than defending champion Alaska could be a perfect way for Rain or Shine to regain its bearing in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup following a heartbreaking loss in its conference debut last Sunday.
Big man Beau Belga said it is imperative for the Elasto Painters to win their 3:30 p.m. match against the Aces at the Smart Araneta Coliseum since losing two straight games in the short elimination round tournament would be harmful to the team’s playoff bid.
“Ayaw lang naman naming mapunta sa ilalim kasi pagdating sa dulo baka mahirapan kami, kaya importanteng manalo kami sa Alaska,” said the burly 6-foot-6 burly Rain or Shine slotman,
The Elasto Painters put to waste an imposing 16-point first half lead after losing to Barako Bull, 110-106.
Belga admitted, though, that beating the Aces is easier said than done because they remain solid from the frontline down to the backcourt.
He cited the inside tandem of Sonny Thoss and Gabby Espinas alone would already have the hands of the Elasto Painters full, not to mention the scoring wingmen Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio, and RJ Jazul could provide.
“Mahirap i-predict ang Alaska kasi you don’t really know sino sa kanila ang puputok,” said Belga, who is coming off career-high numbers of 10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in the Philippine Cup.
But a win over the Aces would definitely give back the Elasto Painters their confidence and put them on track to reaching their seven-win target in the nine-game elimination round format.
“Pero kung makaisang panalo kami, babalik din ang kumpiyansa namin at puro positive things na uli ang papasok sa isip namin,” he added.
Meantime, the Aces have been on a shaky start in their first three games.
Alaska opened the conference with a 72-85 loss to Talk ‘N Text, bounced back against Globalport, 93-77, before crashing back to earth with an ego-deflating 76-85 decision to an injury-depleted Meralco Bolts Wednesday.
The Aces will be playing their fourth game in 10 days in a killer stretch they hope they’ll survive as the team tries to stay in the upper bracket of the team standings.