(Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Rain or Shine
6:45 p.m. – Phoenix vs TNT KaTropa
Unbeaten Rain or Shine goes for its third straight win and the joint lead when they battle the winless Blackwater Elite today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Determined to redeem themselves from a disastrous campaign in the Philippine Cup, the Elasto Painters look to continue their impressive start led by import Shawn Taggart against the struggling Elite at 4:30 p.m.
Taggart has been a good fit for Rain or Shine, averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in Rain or Shine’s victories over NLEX (103-95) and Mahindra (99-95).
Elasto Painters coach Caloy Garcia has been impressed with Taggart, who joined the team after playing five games for the GlobalPort Batang Pier in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup. More than the production, it’s his impact that has benefited the team.
“With Shawn, he tries to get all the players involved. I told him we know you can score,” said Garcia. “The thing I can say is that he makes everybody look good, but minsan he paces on defense.”
A 3-0 start would put the Elasto Painters in a tie for the lead with the Meralco Bolts while giving themselves another boost in their quest to win a second straight Commissioner’s Cup title, especially with James Yap appearing in good form and Raymond Almazan back in action.
Meanwhile, Blackwater is searching for answers after losing its first two games despite having former NBA player Greg Smith as import.
The Elite fell 118-116 in double overtime to the Phoenix Fuel Masters before being crushed by the Alaska Aces, 109-85, last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It hasn’t helped that Blackwater is lacking local presence while Art de la Cruz is listed as out for the conference after suffering an injury in the Gilas Pilipinas training camp in Tagaytay City.
Meanwhile, TNT KaTropa and Phoenix seek to bounce back from their respective losses in the second game at 6:45 p.m.
TNT fell 94-89 to Meralco two days ago while Phoenix was crushed anew by Star, 101-82, last Wednesday.
It is unknown which import the KaTropa will field since Donte Greene is reported to be on standby after parading former New York Knick Lou Amundson in the loss to the Bolts.
Phoenix fell to Star yet again that spoiled the debut of Jameel McKay, who had 34 points and 20 rebounds.