LIFE won’t be easy now for Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round.
That’s the result of the Elasto Painters’ ascent to the top following their ambush of erstwhile unbeaten Phoenix Pulse in a game of between top contenders last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We can’t be complacent,” said RoS coach Caloy Garcia minutes after the Elasto Painters’ 98-94 overtime win over the Fuel Masters in a game where big man Beau Belga and Kris Rosales scored 16 points each.
“We know it gets harder every game,” added Garcia. “We cannot make pagod as an excuse. We’re not only looking at just one person, we’re looking for a whole team effort.”
The Painters actually encountered stiff opposition in their last outing as the Fuel Masters, in a sheer display of their guts on both ends, kept coming back before breaks went on RoS side in the extension period.
“Another good win for us. When Phoenix came back they never gave up. They fought their hearts out,” noted Garcia.
The Painters return to action today, hoping to sustain their momentum in the kickoff conference but will have to deal with a dangerous Magnolia Hotshots whom they will play in the 7 p.m. main offering at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Against the Fuel Masters, the Painters had to really stretch their bench to their fullest to survive the challenge and pick up their 6th win in seven outings that propelled them to the top of the standings.
“The good thing about this win (against Phoenix) is we have different players stepping up,” stressed Garcia.
They may now have to flash the same intensity if they are to keep their hot streak going, especially since they are up against a Magnolia team that can only be expected to play with a lot of urgency after dropping its first two outings.
The Hotshots lost to Talk ‘N Text in their first outing last Feb 3, 80-75, and failed to rebound from that after being mowed down by San Miguel beer last Sunday, 113-92, in a rematch of last season’s Philippine Cup Finals.
“Right now, we have to have that sense of urgency,” said Victolero. “Kailangan na naming mag-start mag-laro ng laro namin. Kasi mahirap malubog.”
Alaska, meanwhile, guns for its second straight win in its 4:30 p.m. meeting with Blackwater.
The Aces lost to RoS in their first outing last Feb 4, 85-72, but bounced back mightily three days later, routing Columbian Dyip, 94-72.