Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. ­ Air21 vs Talk ‘N Text
6:30 p.m. ­ Barangay Ginebra vs Rain or Shine

Manila, Philippines – The last time they met Rain or Shine got vindication for a blown call in the dying seconds, but it was Barangay Ginebra San Miguel that came away with the win.

Tonight, when they clash for the second time in the intra-inter elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup, the Elasto Painters would want nothing than a piece of the Kings’ crown as well.

Reaffirmation takes on revenge at 6:30 p.m. following the 4:15 p.m. second dance between defending champion Talk `N Text and Air21 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A win by the E-Painters (83) and an unlikely loss by the league-leading Tropang Texters (9-2) would result in a three-way tie for leadership with idle San Mig Coffee (8-3). A loss by both would mean helter-skelter in the middle rungs of the standings.

Yeng Guiao, the volcanic Rain or Shine coach, was uncharacteristically subdued after Ginebra pulled off a heart-stopping 98-94 victory on Oct. 7, walking off the court quietly when he could have raised hell for a controversial foul called on Gabe Norwood late in the game.

The call sent Ginebra star point guard LA Tenorio to the line where his two free throws gave them a 97-94 lead with 16.4 seconds remaining and dashed Rain or Shine’s momentum.

The unusual restraint paid off, however, after the PBA, practically admitting the call was erroneous, levied sanctions on the game official, giving Rain or Shine a morale victory as consolation.

Much had taken place since and both teams have gone through a lot, especially Ginebra, which dropped its next five games after that victory over the E-Painters. But the Kings have regained their stature with three straight wins and are now looking to take another serious crack at a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs.

But Rain or Shine has transformed into the conference’s most fearsome team after that loss, pulling off one masterful victory after another, including amazing come-from-behind epics over San Mig Coffee and most recently Meralco.

And stands in the way.

Now the sweet scent of revenge permeates the air, and the Kings will be walking into a gladiatorial arena against a snarling opponent determined to fight to the end.

Rain or Shine will be giving a crucial handicap in top defensive player Jireh Ibanes who has been sidelined with a fractured hand.

The Tropang Texters, on the other hand, seek to distance themselves from the tumult below against the Express (4-7), who they beat, 96-89, on Oct. 17.

In that game, top playmaker Jimmy Alapag swished in four 3point shots, the last one coming down as his 1000th career triple.

At presstime, meanwhile, Petron Blaze (5-6) continues to battle Barako Bull (3-7) in the Phoenix Petroleum on Tour at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City. (Update: Petron got a big lift from Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos to down the Barako Bull Energy Colas, 93-83 over in Lucena City.)

Late Friday night at the Big Dome, James Yap had 20 points and the San Mig Coffee Mixers downed the Air21 Express, 89-80, for their eighth win in 11 games, tying Rain or Shine at second place behind defending champion Talk `N Text (9-2).

“It’s a good bounce back for us after we got embarrassed big time [by Talk `N Text],“ said San Mig coach Tim Cone. “It’s a big thing for us to be able to recover from that loss.“

SAN MIG COFFEE 89 ­ Yap 20, Barroca 12, Villanueva 11, Reavis 10, Simon 9, Pingris 8, Devance 7, Intal 6, De Ocampo 6, Gonzales 0.

AIR 21 80 ­ Canaleta 18, Sena 10, Isip 10, Cortez 9, Wilson 8, Custodio 8, Reyes 7, Ritualo 6, Baclao 4, Atkins 0, Arboleda 0.

Quarters: 25-21, 51-45, 73-66, 89-80.

PETRON 93 – Santos 21 Lutz 12 Washington 12 Cabagnot 11 Lassiter 11 Yeo 10 Faundo 4 Fajardo 4 Duncil 4 Miranda 4

BARAKO BULL 83 – Seigle 16 Kramer 15 R. Yap 15 Anthony 12 Pennisi 8 Najorda 6 Urbiztondo 5 Tubid 3 Co 3 Ballesteros 0 Cruz 0

QUARTERSCORES 16-21 41-38 68-62 93-83

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