Blackwater and Rain or Shine will clash for the remaining quarterfinals spot in a do-or-die playoff duel in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Philippine Cup tonight at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Elite, who are enjoying their best conference since entering the league three years ago, and the Elasto Painters face off at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the next stage and face top seed and defending champion San Miguel Beer.
Both teams finished with identical 5-6 win-loss records at the end of elimination round to figure in a knockout match.
“We have to grab this opportunity to play in a knockout match (against Rain or Shine) and barge into the quarterfinals,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac. “Energy and mental focus will be big factors in order for us to win versus Rain or Shine.”
The Elite are off to a promising start, winning four of their first six games but faltered in the second half of the elimination phase, losing four of their next five matches.
The Elasto Painters also had an ugly finish in the elimination round, dropping their last four games including an 89-94 loss to Alaska and got relegated in a playoff with Blackwater.
“We remain positive despite the situations we’ve been through,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “We have to come out with much energy and we finish the game better. We don’t want to give any excuse. We just have to see the positives on what we are doing right.”
“Blackwater is doing very well and we can’t relax. We have to play smart against them,” Garcia added.
Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap, Jeff Chan and Beau Belga will lead the Elasto Painters while top rookie Mac Belo, Arthur dela Cruz and Roi Sumang will be at the frontline of the Elite’s offense.
The survivor of this playoff match will battle the top seed Beermen, who will hold a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters for finishing No. 1.
In other quarterfinal pairings, No. 2 seed holds a twice-to-beat bonus against the seventh ranked Ginebra.
Third-seed Star Hotshots face sixth seed Phoenix Petroleum while No. 4 TNT Katropa face GlobalPort Batang Pier in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.