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PBA: Kings, Painters eye semis

Meralco’s Jared Dillinger is forced to pass the ball as Alaska’s Sonny Thoss put on a tough defense during their PBA game Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. Alaska won, 94-91, to advance to the quarterfinal round against top seed Ginebra today. (Photo courtesy of PBA)

by Waylon Galvez

Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City)
5:45 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Globalport
8 p.m. – Ginebra vs Alaska

Manila, Philippines – The league’s top two teams − Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine − pursue the job of making the semifinals without going through a do-or-die game when they take on separate rivals in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal playoffs today at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

The Kings and the Elasto Painters finished the first round of the season-opening conference with identical 11-3 cards, but Ginebra emerge as the No. 1 seed due to a superior quotient. Rain or Shine will face No. 7 Globalport in the curtain-raiser at 5:45 p.m. while Ginebra battles Alaska, the last team to catch the bus in the playoffs, at 8 p.m.

Alaska took the last berth after beating Meralco in a knockout match Monday night.

The Painters and the Batang Pier split their head-to-head collision during the eliminations, with Globalport winning first, 90-88, last Dec. 8, but Rain or Shine avenged that with a 98-87 victory last Jan. 5, which was part of the team’s franchise-best seven straight wins ending the first round.

“We have to appreciate and realize the effort we had. All the 14 games that we played, winning 11 and losing three to gain twice-to-beat, all of that will boil down to the game tomorrow. We have to absorb that and soak it in, and put a total effort,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

“It’s the only thing that we fought for in the eliminations, get the quarterfinal incentive. After that, if we make it to the next level, it’s back to zero. So we have to grab that opportunity to win. If we lose this one game, we don’t have anybody else to blame but ourselves,” added Guiao.

One thing going for Rain or Shine, according to Guiao is that Rain or Shine is entering the playoffs with a healthy unit, as compared to Globalport, which is likely to continue to miss the services of Jay Washington, who hasn’t played the past couple of games due to a tear in his right plantar fasciitis (foot).

Nevertheless, Guiao said they should still be concerned against Globalport, which for him is capable of beating any team in the league.

“If we are coming in thinking that we can have an easy game and rest on our previous achievements, we’ll be in for a shock. We don’t relax and we don’t take them for granted,” said Guiao.

“Although, I don’t know how healthy they are, and that is probably one area where we can have an advantage,” added Guiao, whose team will rely on a balanced roster that include former Rookie of the Year winners Paul Lee and Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, Ryan Arana, Jervy Cruz, Chris Tiu and rookies Raymond Almazan, Jeric Teng and Alex Nuyles.

Jeff Chan, however, is a doubtful starter for ROS due to a throat infection.