(Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Miguel Beer
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine start their own series at 7 p.m. today at the same venue.
Despite their easy victory in their previous match, the Elasto Painters do not consider themselves as favorites.
“I agree to what the observers are saying, we’re the underdogs here,” said RoS mentor Yeng Guiao. “Even if we beat them the first time we met, it’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be hard beating them. The only way beating them in a best-of-seven series is to play consistently,” added Guiao.
Rain or Shine defeated San Miguel (99-84) last Nov. 6, but the Beermen won seven straight games before losing their final elimination round assignment opposite Alaska (97-103) last Dec. 16.
Guiao said what makes San Miguel the favorite is the presence of reigning MVP JuneMar Fajardo who continues to dominate the league with averages of 23.09 points, 14.36 rebounds and 1.82 shot blocks this conference.
Beermen head coach Leo Austria meanwhile disagrees with Guiao with regards to Rain or Shine being the underdog – pointing to several things.
“They beat us in the eliminations. They are also fresh from playing in the quarterfinals. Even though they had a week rest after the quarterfinals, we had a longer break of 20 days, and that’s a concern,” said Austria.
While he confirmed the return of lead guard Paul Lee who missed the entire elimination round due to a knee injury, Guiao wants to be cautious in using the Tondo-native sniper.
“We have to gradually introduce him to the game,” said Guiao. “It’s great to see Paul who is about 80 to 90 percent ready.”