RAIN or Shine is again looking to slam the door on Barangay Ginebra as the two teams cross paths anew in the quarterfinal playoffs Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters finished as the second best team after the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs with a 9-5 record, earning the No. 2 seeding and a twice-to-beat edge against the seventh-seeded Kings, who they also ousted in their best-of-three match up during the Philippine Cup playoffs.
The Asian Coating franchise hopes to do the same in their 8 p.m. encounter in its bid to make the semifinals for the second straight time this season.
Towering Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov said going up against the versatile and athletic Vernon Macklin is a challenge, but the 7-foot-2 Croatian vows to do whatever it takes to help his team reach the next round.
“We take it step by step. I’ll do whatever is necessary to win again. Hopefully, we could execute and be better,” said Sundov, who was held to just 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out in Rain or Shine’s 96-93 win over Ginebra in their lone encounter this conference.
The Rain or Shine import added: “It’s not my first time to play (against Ginebra). I think we’re a better team if we play together. Of course, they are the fan favorites and all that, but we just need to concentrate on (improving) ourselves.”
Ginebra mento Alfrancis Chua is aware the team faces a no-tomorrow so he expects the Kings to run, be aggressive from the get-go, and try to pounce on every given opportunity even though the crowd favorites will be playing short-handed anew with stalwarts Mark Caguioa and Billy Mamaril still nursing injuries.
“We need to beat them (Elasto Painters) twice. One miss, pag natalo kami dito, tapos na kami,” said Chua.
The Ginebra coach is hopeful that newly-acquired guard Josh Urbiztondo could bring the energy, backcourt poise, and outside shooting the team needs right away to counter Rain or Shine’s slew of shooters.
“At least makakatulong si Josh sa depensa at sa outside shooting,” he added.
Urbiztondo averaged 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists for Barako Bull this conference before being traded to Ginebra on Wednesday in exchange for Fil-Am rookie forward Keith Jensen and a future second round pick.