RAIN or Shine seeks an all-important win against Meralco in its bid to keep in step with Petron Blaze in the close fight for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
The Elasto Painters are staking their five-game winning run against the Bolts in their 5:45 p.m. encounter as they hope to move a step ahead of the Boosters with two games left in their respective elimination round schedule.
Petron and Rain or Shine currently share second place with identical 9-3 cards behind league-leader Ginebra (10-2).
“Sa amin, do-or-die din naman eh kasi we’re fighting for a twice-to-beat advantage. So we would like to keep the fire burning with our winning streak against a Meralco team that is also playing well even without Mike Cortez,” Guiao said.
Like the Elasto Painters, the Bolts are also on a mini-roll, winning their last two matches against ousted Air21 Express (92-88, overtime) followed by physical match against the Alaska Aces (74-65).
Dillinger, who engaged flamboyant Alaska forward Calvin Abueva in a brief skirmish during the early part of the fourth quarter in the game between the Bolts and Aces, has been handling the point guard chores in the absence of Cortez, who is out of for the rest of the conference due to a meniscus tear on his right knee.
So far, Dillinger has been doing a little of everything for the team in its back-to-back wins, averaging 9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals.
Guiao is aware of the kind of damage Dillinger can bring.
“We’re concerned because Meralco is playing well with its back against the wall even though they don’t have Mike Cortez,” Guiao said.
“Jared Dillinger has proven himself capable of carrying the team on his shoulders as its point guard, a big point guard who can shoot, score, and defend,” he added.
For Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, the Bolts simply need to be reminded that every win this week counts in their hopes of a better positioning in the quarterfinals.
“Our mentality has not changed. We are still on survival mode. We are conscious of our situation and every victory counts,” he said.
“We are up against the hottest team in the league. Rain or Shine has won five straight and they are functioning so well, so we must disrupt their flow and the antidote is our tough defensive stance.”