Rain or Shine tries to complete its up-set story against TNT KaTropa as they clash anew in a knockout game in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.
The No. 7 seed Elasto Painters forced a rubber match with a 106-102 win over the second seed KaTropa last Wednesday and will try to make it two in a row in their 7 p.m. encounter.
The winner of their do-or-die match will face defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the best-of-five semifinals round.
The Gin Kings ousted sister team San Miguel Beer, 104-84, to end the Grand Slam dream of the Beermen.
Rain or Shine is bent on winning a title in its post-Yeng Guiao era.
“We have to play better than the last time. We know how good they are coming from a loss and defense will be the key in this match up,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia, who is going to bank again on import J’Nathan Bullock, Gabe Norwood, Jericho Cruz and Raymond Almazan.
Bullock scored 23 of his 31 points in the first half including seven triples plus 15 rebounds while Norwood added an all-around performance of 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Elasto Painters, who hit 16 three-pointers in their previous game.
TNT head coach Nash Racela said they can no longer afford to have a flat start and must play with energy from the get go.
“Do-or-die Friday. We must come out with a lot of energy this time for us to get to the semifinals,” said Racela, who expects import Glen Rice Jr. to bounce back after an awful shooting performance last Wednesday.
Rice shot 8-of-28 from the field and was held down to just 19 points although he grabbed 10 rebounds and issued six assists.
TNT trailed by as much as 20 points (82-102), made a run late in the game but fell short.
Kelly Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Jayson Castro contributed 22 for KaTropa in their loss.