YENG Guiao knows winning three of Rain or Shine’s last four games will be huge for the team if it wishes to book one of top two spots heading into the playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
And the road towards the quest for the top two berths begins on Easter Sunday when the Elasto Painters duel with the streaking Air21 Express as action in the mid-season conference resumes at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters (7-3) currently occupy solo second, just a half game behind league-leader Alaska’s 8-3 after a surprisingly easy 116-85 whipping of Talk 'N Text on Palm Sunday.
And they hope to carry that momentum against the Express when they clash in the 4:15 p.m. curtain raiser.
As always, Guaio said they will maximize the huge presence of 7-foot-3 import Bruno Sundov in the frontcourt.
Sundov terrorized Talk 'N Text the last time, firing away 27 points on a near-flawless 10-of-12 field goal shooting, while grabbing 16 rebounds, and issuing five assists.
Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said while the Express won their last four games, they will try to keep the game close and hopefully make the big run in the endgame.
“We have to prepare hard for them (Elasto Painters). Rain or Shine is one of the teams with a solid lineup. They have good big guys and a strong import so we just need to keep the game close,” Pumaren said.
The Air21 coach said they’ve learned their lessons during their first round match up, which saw the Express fall short of their fourth quarter rally and drop a heartbreaking 97-99 decision.
Sundov fouled out during as Air21 import Michael Dunigan repeatedly pounded the ball inside.
Dunigan, the 6-foot-9 University of Oregon product, is averaging 26.3 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 2.1 assists in 43.4 minutes for the Express.
Key to the Express’ resurgence is the big local support coming from KG Canaleta, Mike Cortez, Wynne Arboleda, and Mark Isip.