TWO teams struggling for survival are sure to go all out Friday when Rain or Shine duels free-falling Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the PhilSports Arena.
Currently at ninth-running spot with a 4-6 record, the Elasto Painters want nothing more than to beat not only the Bossing but also Magnolia on Dec. 2 to enhance their chances of making it through outright to the eight-team quarterfinals.
"Sa tingin ko, if we could win our last two games wala na kami sa playoffs (for at least one of the last berths). Pero if we could win only one we might need to go through a playoff," said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
"Actually, baka hindi ka pa rin assured of a playoff with five wins," added Guiao, before stating his E-Painters must first take care of the business at hand.
"Big game for us. We do not want to assume that it will be an easy game," said Guiao. "Baka umaasa pa Blackwater so they'd still be motivated to win. We're looking out for that."
Indeed, despite a five-game slide that dropped it to a 3-8 slate and an acute manpower problem Blackwater is still clinging on to the hope it could figure in multiple ties for at least the last quarterfinals spots, which would be broken by sudden-death games.
"Meron pa kaming pag-asa so sana maganda ilaro," said Bossing coach Ariel Vanguardia. "Sana kahit very slim ang chance maipanalo last game para medyo maganda. Malay mo? Basta kailangan manalo kami. Kung saan makarating bahala na."
It would surely take some doing for Blackwater since Troy Rosario, Baser Amer, Jayvee Casio and Josh Torralba are all out due to injuries while Gab Banal is undergoing health and safety protocols.
"Kumpleto na first five sila sa sidelines," Vanguardia said, only half joking.
For Guiao, his charges' main enemy should be themselves. "We do not want to be complacent. Iyung Blackwater halos wala ng chance pero mahirap kalaban iyung ganoon," he said.
"Deceptive iyun. Baka maisip mo na kayang-kaya, you relax, you play over-confident," noted Guiao. "Then biglang gumanda laro nila then you panic. We're aware of that and we will make sure na mentally we're going to be ready for them." (NC)