BARAKO Bull hopes to close out its elimination round with a big win against Rain or Shine and forge a playoff with idle Air21 for the eighth spot in the quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the MOA Arena.
The Energy Cola resuscitated their flickering quarterfinal hopes with their 83-79 win over the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Sunday, in the process gifting new coach Bong Ramos his first win since replacing Junel Baculi less than a month ago.
Ramos knows how difficult the task is for the Energy Cola, who need to beat Rain or Shine and then the Express in a one-game knockout on Monday to book the eighth and final spot in the playoffs.
“Siguro kami yung mas mahirap lumusot. We'll play for a knockout tapos kung sino manalo they deserve to go sa next round. But we have to work our butt off para kung pupunta kami sa next round we deserve it,” said Ramos.
The odds, understandably, are stacked heavily against Barako Bull, which will continue to miss starting guard Josh Urbiztondo due to a bruised rib while last year's Rookie of the Year, Paul Lee, is expected to make his season debut for the Painters after recovering from shoulder surgery.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao also wants to finish the elimination round on a high to gain momentum for the playoffs after the Painters lost their last two crucial outings against Barangay Ginebra (90-97) and San Mig Coffee (92-93).
The twin losses took the Elasto Painters out of the running for the No. 2 spot and a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs.