PBA Philippine Cup elims top notchers Phoenix Pulse and Rain or Shine, suddenly both off to a scrambling start in the Commissioner's Cup, clash in a Sunday mainer at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
The Fuel Masters have dropped their last two games after a conference-winning debut versus the Blackwater Elite while the Elasto Painters have barely got into the win-column after yielding their first two games against the Meralco Bolts and the Elite.
Phoenix, however, is in a tougher bind minus suspended ace forward Calvin Abueva and head coach Louie Alas on the heels of the skirmishes in the Phoenix-TNT KaTropa duel on June 2.
Alas is to serve the last of his two-game suspension in their 6:45 p.m. match with the Elasto Painters.
The Fuel Masters, however, are adamant they can compete and they're ready for the challenge especially with their tough stand in their 95-101 loss to the Meralco Bolts on Friday.
On the same day, the E-Painters finally broke into the win-column on a 104-81 rout of the Barangay Ginebra Kings largely behind the 30-point career game of Rey Nambatac.
"Kami yung nawawala sa team na ito. Yung outside shots namin, kailangan mai-convert dahil yun yung isang key para manalo kami," said Nambatac shortly after their win over the Kings where he sparkled with seven three-pointers.
"Kapag na kay Denzel Bowles 'yung bola, lahat nagko-collapse sa kanya so merong malilibre at malilibre sa labas. Kung wide open, kailangan namin i-convert," Nambatac added.
With Nambatac finding his range, Bowles also got his numbers inside the paint, and the E-Painters scored the big win that could serve them in good stead in their game against the Fuel Masters.
Acting coach Topex Robinson and his Phoenix troops, meanwhile, hope Richard Howell can now dish out his true worth after a tough struggle Friday night.
Howell finished with eight points in his debut for Phoenix, severely hampered by fouls and jet lag from his 15-hour trip to Manila from Israel.
Matthew Wright and Jason Perkins tried to pick up the slack for Phoenix, combining for 36 markers but the Bolts stood their ground. (SB)