RAIN or Shine takes the floor against Meralco while Jeffrey Cariaso makes his coaching debut for Blackwater against his former team Converge at the resumption of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Blackwater and Converge open the day’s hostilities at 4 p.m. while Rain or Shine takes the floor opposite Meralco at 8 p.m.
After three weeks of training in Acropolis Gymnasium and placing second in the pre-season PBA On Tour games with an 8-3 record, the Elasto Painters enter this season in high spirits with 6-foot-8 DaJuan Summers as reinforcement and 6-foot-7 rookies Keith Datu and Sherwin Concepcion manning the paint.
“Only rookie Luis Villegas is injured so we’re hoping it’s going to be an exciting conference after placing second during our On Tour games,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told BusinessMirror on Tuesday. “Our import is also coachable and good.”
Guiao also said that their stint in the Jones Cup in Taipei last August helped hone the team despite finishing with a 2-6 card.
“It gave us the experience to play somehow at a higher level,” he said.
The Elasto Painters missed the playoffs of the Philippine Cup and Governor’s Cup last season. They made the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup but lost to guest team Hong Kong Bay Area Dragons in a knockout game.
Holdovers Beau Belga, Rey Nambatac, Anton Asistio, Andrei Caracut, Nick Demusis, Leo Santillan, Gabe Norwood, Gian Mamuyac and Mac Belo and veteran James Yap are expected to take charge against the Bolts.
Meralco, on the other hand, aims to give new coach Luigi Trillo a rousing head debut with rookie 6-foot-8 Brandon Bates expected to deliver on his first day.
But he expects it won’t be easy against Guiao and Rain or Shine.
“We knew DaJuan Summers, their import, and they also have good rookies that we have to deal with. So, we have to work with our defense,” Trillo, a former Alaska coach, said. “Summers is a good fit with them, but we’ll be ready.”
Former Most Valuable Player Willie Miller, meanwhile, joined the Converge coaching staff of Aldin Ayo when they play the Bossing.