Texters, Painters tackle struggling foes
Powerhouses Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine try to stay close to the lead when they tangle with struggling foes today in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters take to the floor first at 4:15 p.m. against winless Barako Bull before the Tropang Texters, dethroned here last season, clash with expansion squad KIA Motors at 7 p.m.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao admits that his squad has not played according to pretournament hype, noting that their first two wins came at the expense of expansion teams.
Against the Energy, Guiao and his Painters will be up against a veterans-laden side that can beat any team on any given day.
Paul Lee has limped off the floor in the two Rain or Shine losses so far but, if he is healthy enough to suit up today, he would again be the leader of the Painters.
Barako Bull has three losses in close games.
Gabe Norwood has not played a great game thus far and Jeff Chan has been slow to regain his top shooting form. Also missing are dominant performances from Guiao’s big men like veterans Beau Belga and JR Quiñahan.
Talk ‘N Text, also at 2-2 like Rain or Shine, will be clashing against a KIA side that is reeling from three straight losses.
The Sorento opened up with an 80-66 win over Blackwater in the inaugurals but lost their next two by an average of 30.5 points, before playing well for a change and losing to Globalport respectably last Tuesday.
Ranged against one of the tournament favorites, KIA would have to dig very deep to get a chance to stay with the Texters.
Ranidel De Ocampo, former MVP Kelly Williams, Larry Fonacier, Jason Castro and Ryan Reyes form the nucleus of the Texters, who are still awaiting the return of national team standout Jimmy Alapag.
Kevin Alas will be coming off his breakout game for the Texters and the Rookie Draft’s second overall pick this season is expected to again see major minutes against a backcourt rotation that is finding it hard to match up against the others in this league.