• Kings, Elasto Painters gun for semifinal berths

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    TOP seed Barangay Ginebra and second pick Rain or Shine seek for a short quarterfinal battle when they face separate foes on Wednesday in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    After emerging No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, with similar 11-3 win-loss slate at the end of the elimination round, both the Kings and the Elasto Painters enjoyed twice-to-beat advantage over respective opponent. Thus, they need to win only once to make it to the best-of-seven semifinals.

    The Kings, who grabbed the top spot due to the winner-over-the other rule, try to prove its mastery over eighth qualifier Alaska Aces at 8 p.m. while second seed Rain or Shine battles No. 7 Globalport Batang Pier at 5:45 p.m.

    Besides having enough rest, coach Ato Agustin’s Kings’ also enjoy psychological edge over the Aces because of their 96-89 victory in their only meeting in the eliminations on December 21.

    They played on Sunday against Talk ‘N Text, but did not spend so much energy that resulted to a 79-103 rout.

    In contrast, the Aces need to win for two straight days to claim the last quarterfinal berth via a 91-94 conquest off Meralco Bolts in a sudden death playoff on Monday. They also secured their fifth win in 14 matches at the expense of Barako Bull, 89-80, on Sunday to force a quadruple tie from sixth to ninth spot.

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