Caloy Garcia hopes to catch SMB off guard as ROS faces tough road to playoffs
Coach Caloy Garcia sees a tougher road to the playoffs for Rain or Shine with games against San Miguel and Ginebra to close the elimination round. Jerome Ascano

IT may be wishful thinking, but Rain or Shine hopes defending champion San Miguel won’t play with enough urgency when the two teams clash Wednesday next week in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The Elasto Painters’ 99-95 loss to Alaska Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum casted them out in the tight race for the no. 1 seed going to the playoffs, which the Beermen now owns.

And with the three-time reigning champion up next for his team, coach Caloy Garcia could only yearn for one unlikely scenario.

“Hopefully, San Miguel relaxes a bit,” said Garcia after the game. “We have a window of opportunity against them because we know Ginebra will come out harder.”

After the battle with the Beermen, the Elasto Painters (5-4) face the Kings (5-5) in the final date of the eliminations Friday next week.

Mathematically, the team still has a shot at landing the no. 2 spot should it sweep its last two outings, although there’s also the possibility that the Elasto Painters get eliminated if they lose both games against San Miguel and Ginebra.

It’s the reason why Garcia said the Feb. 28 duel against the Beermen is of utmost important.

The bad news: four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo would be back for San Miguel after playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

And again, Garcia had another wishful thinking.

“Sana ipahinga na lang (sa Wednesday),” he said. “But I don’t think that’s gonna happen.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos