SECOND seed Rain or Shine guns for an outright semifinals berth when it takes on an unpredictable GlobalPort side in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The E-Painters are the hottest team in the tournament after finishing the eliminations with seven straight victories for an 11-3 win-loss mark.
While Rain or Shine tied Ginebra for the best record in the 10-team field, the Gin Kings earned the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 97-84 win against the E-Painters in their lone match-up this season.
Now coach Yeng Guiao hopes his team can continue to ride on their momentum even without top gunner Jeff Chan, who is out due to a throat infection.
“Ang paalala ko lang naman sa mga bata eh, yung 11-3 record namin saka yung seven-game winning streak namin, lahat ng iyan, ang fruit ng effort namin dun is if we win tomorrow (Wednesday) dahil kapag matalo kami, it (game) would all be even when we play again on Saturday,” Guiao said, ahead of Rain or Shine’s 5:45 p.m. encounter with Globalport.
Without Chan, who leads the team with 13.1 points per contest this conference, Guiao expects rookies Alex Nuyles and Jeric Teng to step up and help former Rookie of the Year Paul Lee.
Guiao said GlobalPort is not the same team that it was during its maiden year due to the presence of several key additions in the offseason.
“GlobalPort can beat any team in the league. And it showed when they beat us before, so we have prepared against some of their players defensively,” added the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.
With GlobalPort expected to miss forward Jay Washington, who is out with a partially torn plantar fascia he suffered more than a week ago, the Batang Pier will be pinning their hopes on veteran Eric Menk, Kelly Nabong, Jewel Ponferrada and Jondan Salvador.
The 6-foot-5 Menk has been rejuvenated the last two games, averaging 13.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in stepping up in place of the injured Washington.
“We have to match or even surpass their (E-Painters) physicality,” said GlobalPort’s interim coach Ritchie Ticzon. “We also need to stop their scorers and shooters because their bigs can also shoot from the perimeter.”
GlobalPort is in the quarterfinals for the second straight conference after making it to the playoffs for the first time in last season’s Governors Cup against the same Rain or Shine team.