Painters seek title slot todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
RAIN or Shine tries to inch closer again to a first-ever PBA title series appearance today when the Elasto Painters tangle with the desperate Meralco Bolts in the Governors’ Cup semifinals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Painters slug it out with the Bolts at 4:15 p.m. with a win more or less giving them a lock on the second best-of-seven Finals berth while eliminating the Bolts from further contention.
Barangay Ginebra and Petron Blaze break their tie for third at 6:30 p.m. after a brief ceremony where the No. 7 jersey of former Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski will be officially retired.
“We will try very hard to win for (former) Senator Jaworski,” Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen said Friday night after an easy 89-76 triumph over the Bolts at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“We will try to give him something that would continue his legacy.
“But it will be a very tough game,” Tanquingcen added. “That (Petron) team is loaded from (positions) 1 to 5.”
The Boosters will also be coming off a win, a 90-88 squeaker over the Painters where Rain or Shine muffed seven free throws in the fourth quarter alone but still almost overhauled a 22-point second quarter deficit.
“We have a job to do and we will play very hard,” Petron coach Ato Agustin said when asked if he would play the spoiler to a Ginebra victory that could complete Jaworski’s night. “We need to win as many games as we can.”
Ginebra is coming along fine as a team and with Kerby Raymundo showing sustained rejuvenation as evidenced by a brilliant outing against the Bolts, it would be very hard to call the main game.
There were a lot of nice things worth mentioning in the Rain or Shine loss, one of them the fighting character of the team, which never gave up despite lagging behind all night.
Jamelle Cornley is also proving to be the real thing for the Painters and that could spell a lot of trouble for the Bolts, who need to sweep their remaining four games to avail of the 4-of-5 rule and play the natural No. 2 in a KO duel.