Rain or Shine tries to move closer to the franchise’s first finals stint while Meralco begins its long climb as the semifinal round of the PBA Governors’ Cup kicks off Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Elasto Painters, leading the pack with an 8-1 mark, take on defending champion Petron Blaze in the main game at 7:30 p.m. right after the Bolts square off with Barangay Ginebra at 5:15 p.m.
“Our mentality is we start over again,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao when asked about his team’s approach in the semis.
“We have to win as many games as we can. We want to avoid any complication. Any team is capable of winning four-of-five like Petron so we need to continue to win,” he added.
At 8-1, the Elasto Painters just need a couple of wins, probably two, to clinch the first finals berth of the season-ending conference.
But Guiao knows the rest of the field are out to deny them and they have to be ready for a tougher challenge in the semifinal stage.
The Boosters are tied with the Kings and Tropang Texters in the team standings at 5-4 and will be parading a new import in Marcus Faison.
Faison, a Belgian-American, will sub for the injured Eddie Basden.
In the opener, Meralco hopes to sustain the momentum that they gained in their playoff win to enter the semis. The Bolts, at 4-5, will have the most difficult task in clinching the finals seat.
“The journey to the finals is going to get more difficult. With the most inferior standing among the qualifiers, we are aiming for no less than the 4-of-5 incentive to get into the finals,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
“With our newfound strength anchored on defense, I am sure we will fare better,” he added.
Ginebra mentor Siot Tanquingcen likewise knows the importance of winning early in the semis.
“Dikit-dikit lahat except sa Rain or Shine kaya critical ‘yung makaumpisa ka nang maganda dito sa semis,” said Tanquingcen. “Para magkaroon ng mental edge at momentum.”
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