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PBA: Kings brace for Painters

Slaughter vs Belga

Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Barangay Ginebra

Manila, Philippines – Suddenly, Rain or Shine has become the most feared ballclub in the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup.

And it has nothing to do with head coach Yeng Guiao screaming at sideline nor wide-bodied Beau Belga knocking down non-teammates who come near him although opposing teams have not ceased to tremble in their presence.

Something else has inspired a deathly dread all around the league and transformed Rain or Shine into an even more terrifying form, a fiery creature right out of hell that is capable of administering such terrible punishment as what the hapless Alaska Aces endured last Wednesday at the Philsports Arena.

It is this fearsome figure which Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will take on at 5:15 p.m. today at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Elasto Painters’ 123-73 demolition of the Aces – a 51-point execution that nearly found no parallel in league history for its savagery – will be in the minds of the Kings (4-1) when they shoot for a another share of leadership with Talk ‘N Text (5-1).

The Tropang Texters broke away from a three-team jam with Ginebra and San Mig Super Coffee by crushing Globalport, 97-82, last Friday. They remained alone on top after the Mixers fell to the resurgent Aces, 93-84, fulfilling San Mig coach Tim Cone’s prophecy that redemption-hungry Alaska will be tough to beat following that humiliation at the hands of Rain or Shine.

As for suffering the same fate as Alaska, Ginebra diehards may not have that much to worry. Formidable as Rain or Shine is, the Kings carry no such burden as the Aces, who saw their previous coach fired and had been hearing rumors that their team is up for sale.

With or without that terrible load to bear, however, the Kings will have their hands full trying to figure out the Elasto Painters’ multi-pronged attack led by import Arizona Reed, playmaker Paul Lee and hotshot Jeff Chan.

The triangle offense which coach Jeffrey Cariaso is slowly introducing to his run-and-gun team has gained limited success owing to the players’ impatience and penchant for one-on-one plays. But the Kings are buoyed by the speed with which they were able to jump back on track after getting run over by defense-minded San Mig Super Coffee, 102-90, last Sunday.

Without letup, the Kings, behind LA Tenorio’s 22 points, blew away Barako Bull, 98-70, breathing new life to one of their best conference starts in a long while.

Rain or Shine presents an entirely different challenge however, something that will put to the test the Kings’ faith in their new system and coach.

Barako Bull (1-5) and Globalport (1-5), meanwhile, battle for survival and a way out of the cellar when they meet in the curtain-raiser at 3 p.m.

Ongoing at presstime was the Petron Blaze Saturday Special between San Miguel Beer (4-2) and Meralco (1-5) at the Xavier School gym in Cagayan de Oro City. (Tito S. Talao)