Rain or Shine tries to close out the elimination round on a winning note when it takes on Meralco in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Elasto Painters slid to their second consecutive loss but still owned the league’s second-best 7-3 won-lost record behind the Phoenix Fuel Masters (8-2).
They need a strong finish if they wish to solidify their bid for one of the two twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Blocking their way are the Bolts, who are fighting for survival with a 3-5 card that is only good for a tie in the bottom half of the standings with the NLEX Road Warriors.
Game time is 7 p.m.
TNT (5-3) targets to sneak its fourth straight win against Alaska at (3-4) in the first game at 4:30 p.m.
Rain or Shine absorbed another loss to Columbian, 82-85, last week. It was Columbian’s fourth consecutive win over the Elasto Painters since the All-Filipino conference last season.
Mark Borboran topscored for Rain or Shine with 21 points that went with four rebounds and two steals. James Yap added 12 points, while Javee Mocon also had 12 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double.
Meralco, on the other hand, escaped past NorthPort in a thrilling and exhausting 126-123 double-overtime victory last week.
Baser Amer unloaded 23 points, including 11 in the extra periods, to tow the Bolts.
Head Coach Norman Black said the nail-biting game is a normal scene for teams vying for a spot in the playoffs.
“That’s a hard-fought game between two teams fighting to stay in the running for the playoffs, especially us. I’m happy we never gave up,” Black said.
Meralco needs to sweep its last three assignments for a safe passage to the quarterfinals.
Currently at third place is San Miguel (6-3), followed by TNT (5-3), Barangay Ginebra (4-3), Magnolia (3-4), Alaska (3-4) and Columbian Dyip (4-6).
Only the top eight teams will advance to the playoffs. Ramon Rafael Bonilla