RAIN or Shine veteran center Beau Belga said for every Petron Blaze win, the E-Painters will have to match it with a victory of their own as they battle for a top-two spot that offers a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup.
“Siyempre, gusto talaga naming mag-No. 2 kaya nga ang Petron kapag nagpapanalo, kailangan din naming manalo,” Belga told Spin.ph on Monday.
Rain or Shine and Petron Blaze are locked in second place with identical 9-3 cards heading into the final week of the double-round eliminations, just behind leader Barangay Ginebra's 10-2 (win-loss) mark.
For Belga, the E-Painters simply have to keep on winning to enhance their chances of securing at least the No. 2 spot as they try to earn a return trip to the Philippine Cup Finals for the second straight season.
But that’s easier said than done, Belga said.
“Di pa naman kami sigurado (for the No. 2 spot) kasi sa PBA ngayon, wala ng mahinang teams. In fact, kahit nga No. 8 kayang talunin ang mga malalakas,” noted the former Philippine Christian University star.
Rain or Shine faces Meralco, a team that is fighting for a playoff spot, on Wednesday before winding up its schedule with a match against also-ran Air21 on Saturday.
Belga is keeping his fingers crossed that the E-Painters can extend their five-game streak, the most recent win a 90-88 victory over three-time Philippine champion Talk ’N Text.
The 27-year-old Gilas Pilipinas alternate actually played the hero’s role when he drained what proved to be the game-winning baseline jumper over former PCU Blue Dolphins teammate Jason Castro.
He went on to finish with 16 points on a near-flawless 7-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds.
“Ganun naman si coach (Yeng Guiao), basta libre, itira mo lang. Eh nataon pa sa amin ni JR (Quinahan) na nakaka-shoot kami. Nung maka-shoot ako sa second half, nagka-kumpiyansa na ako,” added Belga, who was also unanimously named the Accel-PBA Press Corps. Player of the Week.