Are the elite for real?

Blackwater gets big test as it plays San Miguel.

IT’S going to be a slam-bang doubleheader featuring four teams of diverse goals as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup enters the halfway mark of the elimination round.

Blackwater is looking to regain a piece of possession it never got to enjoy in its earlier years in the pro league. San Miguel Beer is still in search for a win in the midseason conference, and so is Magnolia. NLEX, meanwhile, is hoping finally make the win column with a retooled roster.

This is the scenario today as campaign for playoff berths intensifies at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Elite, who are in a three-way tie for the lead with NorthPort and Talk ‘N Text at 5-1, try to break away from that but will have to deal with Philippine Cup titlists Beermen in what could be their toughest test this conference.

The Elite are enjoying one of their best starts in the pro league and are on the verge of securing a slot in the quarterfinal round after winning five of six games, including against NLEX, 132-106, last Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

However, coach Aries Dimaunahan has warned his team against complacency, knowing full well the Elite themselves had encountered bad experience in the last Governors’ Cup.

During last season’s Governors’ Cup under former coach Bong Ramos, the Elite started their campaign with four straight victories on the way to a franchise best 6-1 record. Then things turned for the worse.

The Elite lost their next four games as well as the luxury of twice-to-beat advantage. They were knocked out from quarterfinals by eventual champion Magnolia Hotshots.

“We just reminded the boys that it happened before,” said Dimaunahan, who was Ramos’ assistant at that time.

“We started 4-0 some conferences back, but somehow that time medyo nag-letup mga players, medyo nawala sa focus, medyo nagcelebrate at medyo nagkaroon ng konting complacency,” added Dimaunahan.

The Elite are in almost exact situation this conference, hence you cannot blame Dimaunahan to caution the Elite.

“We talked about it the last three days that we cannot let that happen again, learn from the mistake that happened some conference backs. I’m glad the players responded against NLEX,” said Dimaunahan.

For sure, the Elite are in for a rough sailing in their bid for third straight win as the Beermen can only be expected to give their best in their bid to make the win column after dropping their first two outings.

It marked the second straight year that SMB started the Commissioner’s Cup with two straight losses.