RAIN or Shine tests the mettle of an improved GlobalPort side as it seeks to sustain its hot start in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Elasto Painters, the only unbeaten team remaining in the all-Filipino conference, shoot for a fourth straight win as they take on a Batang Pier side that has made strides toward joining the league’s elite after winning two of their first three games.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
The E-Painters have been enjoying the view from the top despite the absence of Paul Lee, who’s out with a knee injury that will keep the star guard out until the latter part of the elimination round.
“We still miss Paul. I wish he was available and playing,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao admitted. “But we miss him a little less when we’re winning.”
Maverick Ahanmisi has continued to step up in Lee's absence, with the rookie guard scattering 14 points, five boards, four assists, and one steal in 31 minutes when the Painters’ dealt San Miguel Beer its first defeat with a 99-84 decision last week.
“A lot of people doubted the ability of Maverick, but he has showed he can play in this league,” Guiao said of this year’s surprise third overall pick. “It’s a validation of our judgment on draft day.”
Ahanmisi and the rest of the E-Painters guards hope to hold their own against the Batang Pier, who boast the league’s most explosive backcourt led by Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
Even with his team coming off a second straight win, a 105-91 decision of Barako Bull in overtime, Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio insists his team has yet to find its groove as a unit.
“Nasa process pa rin yung na magkaroon talaga ng solid chemistry, so (in a way) hindi mo pa pwede sabihin na acid test yung game sa Rain or Shine kasi pang apat pa lang namin,” Jarencio said. “Pero imporante sa amin yun.”
A team that has always fell short in its first three games, Mahindra, tries to get over the hump this time as it tries to barge into the win column, facing NLEX (2-1) earlier at 4:15 p.m.