Calm before the storm as well-rested Rain or Shine braces for 'killer stretch'
Beau Belga believes a top two finish and an automatic semifinal berth is achievable for Rain or Shine. Jerome Ascano

RAIN or Shine is facing four heavyweight opponents at the end of their PBA Philippine Cup’s single-round elimination schedule, but that hardly intimidates big man Beau Belga.

The 6-foor-5 heavyweight center understands that the job won’t be easy especially with forward Jervy Cruz out with a partial tear on his right calf, but inisited the target of a Top 2 finish and an automatic semifinal spot is achievable.

“Kailangan lang naming ma-sustain (their three-game winning streak) kasi apat na sunud na mabibigat, pero equally divided naman yung playing time namin kahit wala si Jervy,” Belga told

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The Painters sit in third spot with five wins against two losses, and the results in the tough final stretch will be crucial in the battle for playoff placing.  

Rain or Shine is currently enjoying a 10-day break, but will begin its killer stretch next Tuesday against NLEX, followed by matches against Purefoods Star (Nov. 30), Alaska (Dec. 5) and finally, Barangay Ginebra (Dec. 7).

The Rain or Shine slotman, who averages 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season, said the team is slowly starting to peak after blowing hot and cold during the early stages of the season-opening conference.

Belga, who turns 28 next week, said injuries to guards Chris Tiu (hamstring), Paul Lee (hyperextended knee) and Ryan Arana (hamstring), as well as the leave of absence of Gabe Norwood, somehow disrupted the team’s chemistry.

[See Rain or Shine frontline suffers blow as Jervy Cruz out three weeks with calf tear]

Norwood was given a break after serving Gilas Pilipinas during the offseason.

But now that Tiu and Arana will be back as Norwood shifts to the four-spot to take the place vacated by the injured Cruz, Belga feels they are capable of competing against anybody.

“Mahaba-haba din naman ang break namin so at least nakikita namin ano ang gagawin namin (preparation). Eh hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy (winning streak) kasi pangarap naming mag-Finals uli,” he added.

“Alam namin di naman imposible kung pagsisikapan namin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava