Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine try to finish off their respective opponents today in the resumption of their quarterfinal duels in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings hope to ride the momentum of their 85-79 win in Game 1 of the best-of-3 series as they play anew Magnolia in Game 2 set at 4:30 p.m. The Elasto Painters then follow suit in their own quest to end it all in the 7 p.m. meeting with Blackwater.
For Gin Kings’ coach Tim Cone, beating Magnolia two in a row is not an easy task indeed, and that they would need to be a lot cautious this time since they had been in the same situation before against the same opponent.
"We have to handle it better on Tuesday, and make sure we are better prepared," said Cone. "We got frustrated a lot throughout the game and our guys can't afford to get frustrated, keep our focus on each possession."
Cone recalled two previous quarterfinal meetings with the Hotshots whom they beat in the opener but the letter bounced back mightily and eventually swept them.
"We've been here twice before already," recalled Cone. "We won the first game in the (last) third conference and then we got swept in three. We won the first game last conference and we got swept in two."
The situation though is entirely different this time around because the Gin Kings have a Justine Brownlee and a Stanley Pringle who are both consistent in their plays.
Magnolia’s top gunner Paul Lee himself admitted that, saying this conference has a different scenario.
"They got (Justin) Brownlee, they got Stanley (Pringle), so nandoon 'yung may piyesa sila para manalo every game," stressed Lee.
Brownlee led Ginebra in the opener with 20 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while Pringle, acquired from NorthPort last month, had 18 points.
Another victory by Ginebra will enable the Gin Kings to seal a return trip to the Final Four of the tournament they won last season at the expense of San Miguel Beer.
The Elasto Painters on the other hand walked the tightrope before beating Blackwater, 83-80, behind a strong wind-up capped by Rey Nambatac’s triple in the last 2.5 seconds.
An 11-to-nothing closing salvo capped by Nambatac’s three-point shot in the last 2.5 seconds allowed the Elasto Painters to turn around what looked like a clear win for the Elite.
If the Painters struggled in the elimination, this time they have just gotten a twice-to-beat advantage after that Game 1 victory, which means the higher-seeded Blackwater side must win two in a row to salvage this playoff.
"I think it was just a lucky win," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia as they were staring at a 72-80 deficit before making an amazing finish to grab the win from Blackwater's grip.
The Elite are in their best campaign thus far since entering the league in 2014, finishing the elimination as third seed, and Blackwater coach Aris Dimauhanan was quick to point out the Elasto Painters’ vast playoff experience and the Elite's seeming lack of it.
Dimaunahan himself is a neophyte in PBA playoff.