by Jonas Terrado
Game Tuesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Magnolia
(Rain or Shine leads series 2-0)
Game 1 – Rain or Shine 84, Magnolia 77
Game 2 – Rain or Shine 93, Magnolia 80
Rain or Shine looks to spring up more surprises on Magnolia when it tries to gain a commanding 3-0 lead in Game 3 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters are determined to put a stranglehold on the series in the match slated 7 p.m. before the series takes a six-day hiatus because of the Lenten season.
Getting a victory before the break could be a determining factor in the best-of-seven affair.
“I think that’s probably the key,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “It’s hard if you lose to Magnolia before the one-week break, then they’ll be healthier and gain some confidence. For me, Game 3 is crucial for our team.”
Garcia’s team has outplayed the Hotshots with different players stepping up in taking Games 1 and 2.
Sunday’s 93-80 saw Norbert Torres and Ed Daquioag take charge with their offensive outputs while Kris Rosales and Mark Borboran among many Rain or Shine players provide stingy defense.
Their performances has somewhat eased the load on James Yap, who has averaged just 8.0 points on 6-of-24 shooting in the first two games.
“Kung titignan mo, kahit sinong huhugutin ni coach, nakakashoot at nakakadepensa (Every player coach has inserted can shoot or defend),” said Yap.
That is something Magnolia has yet to discover since its resounding quarterfinal win against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as the usual reliables have been either off or inconsistent.
The Hotshots are hoping to get their acts together in hopes of turning their fortunes around.
Meanwhile, defending champion San Miguel Beer was aiming to take a 2-0 lead on Phoenix Pulse in their game being played at presstime at the Big Dome.
The Beermen took the series opener, 100-88, last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.