by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Rain or Shine
(Magnolia leads series 3-2)
Magnolia looks to complete its comeback from a 0-2 deficit against Rain or Shine and earn a second straight trip to the PBA Philippine Cup when they clash in Game 6 of their best-of-seven semifinals tonight at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Emboldened by three consecutive victories, the Hotshots aim to close out the Elasto Painters at 7 p.m. and arrange a title showdown with either the San Miguel Beermen or Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
San Miguel was seeking to finish off Phoenix at presstime in Game 5 of their own best-of-seven semis at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Hotshots took the pivotal fifth game Tuesday night at the Astrodome when they pulled away late for an 82-74 victory as the Elasto Painters’ offense struggled when needed.
Though Magnolia’s confidence is on its highest level, coach Chito Victolero cautioned that Rain or Shine is due for a big fightback.
“We have to find ways again on how to execute and how to win on Friday,” Victolero said. “This is not yet over, we need four wins to take the series. We’re only up one game and there’s no reason for us to relax.”
“We knew Rain or Shine has a tendency to come back, they’re a strong team and we need to have a proper mindset,” he added.
Magnolia’s backcourt could again spell the difference after Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon scored 14 points each in Game 5.
Paul Lee will try to atone for his scoreless outing while Ian Sangalang hopes to inflict more trouble on Rain or Shine’s frontline.
Rain or Shine, on the other hand, has no recourse but to produce its best game yet.
For Elasto Painters veteran Beau Belga, the team will have to overcome its lack of playoff experience and force a rubber match on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Naghirap kaming umabot dito, panget naman kung bibitaw kami,” said Belga.