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Rain or Shine determined to go all the way

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA TREE Treadwell is tipped to challenge June Mar Fajardo when Rain or Shine battles San Miguel in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Games today:

(Philsports Arena)

4 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs San Miguel

8 p.m. — NorthPort vs Ginebra


After bouncing back from a sluggish start, Rain or Shine is determined to go all the way when it battles San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup today at the Philsports Arena.

Game time is at 4 p.m. with the Elasto Painters needing to win two games over the dangerous Beermen to advance to the best-of-five semifinals of the season-opening conference.

Also shooting for an earth-shaking upset will be NorthPort, which battles Barangay Ginebra in the second game at 8 p.m.

The Batang Pier wrapped up its eliminations campaign at the sixth spot with a 6-5 win-loss record, giving them a two-game disadvantage against the Kings, who won the previous staging of this tournament with Justin Brownlee as import.

Still, all eyes will be on Rain or Shine.

After a rusty start with five straight losses, the Elasto Painters turned things around as they won their next six matches to book a seat in the playoffs.

But Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao stressed that their red-hot streak is nothing but a thing of the past and they have to be at their best in the playoffs to complete their mission of winning their first title since 2016.

He said it’s going to be hard but it’s very possible.

“You can’t afford to go wrong in the playoffs because you won’t get another chance,” Guiao said, knowing the magnitude of the task at hand.

“One loss and it’s all over. This is a new chapter and what we need is to win one game and prepare for the next one.”

Standing in the way of the Elasto Painters are the Beermen, who are also sizzling hot after putting together five straight wins to finish the eliminations on a high note.

With their impressive run, the Beermen were able to secure the No. 2 spot in the quarterfinals. But what made them even more scary is the fact that seven-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is back in full strength, ready to wreak havoc in the shaded lane against the Elasto Painters.

Fajardo, who finally came back from a fractured left ring finger, was able to get a feel of the game after six weeks of recovery.

Aside from Fajardo, the Beermen will also parade a rock-solid core headed by import Bennie Boatwright with local stars Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Mo Tautuaa, Jericho Cruz and Don Trollano, who arrived via the Robert Bolick trade, providing ample support.

In fact, they won their lone eliminations battle against the Elasto Painters, 115-110, with Ivan Aska still serving as their reinforcement.

But Guiao is unfazed.

“If we pull off a surprise, they will feel the pressure in the next game,” the outspoken tactician said.

“But it’s going to be hard to rattle the Beermen. They are far more seasoned than us.”

Guiao said the 6-foot-10 Fajardo and the versatile Boatwright will be their major problems.

“June Mar and Boatwright will be our biggest problems,” said Guiao, who is expected to tap hulking import Tree Treadwell and Beau Belga to challenge Fajardo in the painted area.

“I think their combination is, I wouldn’t say unguardable, like the version of Arwind (Santos) and June Mar. But Boatwright is probably a better shooter and a bigger player who can also post up.”

“They are so used to running the high-low (offense) and they are surrounded by locals who are very talented and can also score.”

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