Magnolia, Rain or Shine clash with idling squads cheering them on
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone wouldn’t mind playing the role of head cheerleader for Rain or Shine when the Elasto Painters close out their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup elimination round assignment on Friday.
“We’re going to be cheering for [Rain or Shine] coach Yeng [Guiao],” Cone said.
This despite the fact that Rain or Shine’s opponent will be Magnolia, Ginebra’s sister team.
The Gin Kings will be one of the benefactors if the Painters defeat the Hotshots in the 5:45 p.m. meeting at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City, a result that will give Ginebra the No. 2 seed and a twice-to-beat advantage against the No. 7 seed—which could either be NorthPort, Phoenix or Rain or Shine.
A Magnolia victory gives the Hotshots the quarterfinal bonus while relegating Ginebra to No. 3 and a best-of-three affair with NorthPort or Phoenix.
Magnolia carries a 9-2 record while Ginebra, following its 115-96 rout of Converge on Wednesday, ended the elimination at 9-3. The Gin Kings hold the tiebreaker over their Manila Clasico rival after taking a 103-97 win during their thrilling duel last Oct. 23.
But even with the result still hanging, Cone is already counting his team’s blessings.
Rooting for Hotshots
“We prefer No. 2, but we’re okay at three,” he said. “We’re just glad we didn’t slip down to seven or eight and have to play Bay Area or someone like that [with a] twice-to-beat [advantage].”
Magnolia won’t want for a cheering team either.
NLEX will be rooting for the Hotshots, whose victory will forge a playoff for the eighth and last quarterfinal slot.
Rain or Shine has a 5-6 slate while NLEX kept its chances alive after two unlikely wins at the expense of Ginebra and Meralco—both despite facing big deficits—to complete its elimination assignment at 5-7.
The Elasto Painters will play their first game since last Friday when they pummeled the Blackwater Bossing by 19. Guiao believes the long respite will be beneficial to his squad.
“It’s actually a good thing for us because we recently replaced our import,” Guiao said as he expressed confidence that import Ryan Pearson can step up against the fancied Magnolia side.
San Miguel Beer and Meralco will play a nonbearing game at 3 p.m. with the latter no longer in playoff contention even if it goes on to win and Rain or Shine falls short.
That scenario would create a three-way tie for eighth between Rain or Shine, NLEX and Meralco, but the Bolts hold an inferior quotient based on the tiebreaker and won’t take part in any runoff for the last quarterfinal spot.
The Beermen seek to end the eliminations with four straight wins under assistant coach Jorge Gallent, who was tapped to call the shots while coach Leo Austria was said to be placed under health and safety protocols.