The “three-peat”-seeking Tropang Texters take the floor first at 5:15 p.m. against Calvin Abueva and the Alaska Aces, before the Mixers start Game 1 of their expected bruising series with Paul Lee and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 7:30 p.m.
The Texters and the Mixers are pegged as favorites in the semifinals, but only slightly considering their history against their opponents.
Talk ‘N Text has led this tournament from the start, but one of its only two losses in the elimination round was inflicted by the Aces, considered by many as having overachieved simply by going this deep in the tournament.
San Mig-Rain or Shine is a reprise of the colorful Governors’ Cup Finals last season, where the Painters scored their breakthrough championship triumph even with Lee sitting out the final five games of the best-of-seven series due to a shoulder injury.
The same injury kept Lee out for the first 13 games of this tournament and his return makes the Painters even more dangerous since his relatively fresh legs provide the team with a new dimension to its game.
“That’s my motivation—to play against them again and hopefully complete this series,” the 6-foot Lee said shortly after anchoring the Painters’ 102-89 demolition job of Barangay Ginebra in the rubber match of the quarterfinal series Sunday.
Before opening up a 2-0 lead in that Governors’ Cup series, Rain or Shine lost Lee to a dislocated left shoulder, and that still didn’t stop coach Yeng Guiao from proclaiming victory.
Guiao and the rest of the Painters eventually completed the job even with Lee on the bench.