May 25, 2017

E-Painters, Batang Pier seek vital win to boost playoff bids

WITH their latest surprise wins Rain or Shine and GlobalPort both boosted their chances of advancing past the PBA Commissioner's Cup eliminations.

It's now a matter of pushing home their newly-found momentum, which the Elasto Painters and Batang Pier intend to do in their collision Friday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

Another victory by GlobalPort would enable it to catch idle Phoenix at eighth-running spot, the last one offered in the quarterfinals.

For its part, Rain or Shine is also looking for a second straight win that would keep it at sixth-running spot heading to its last elimination round game against TNT KaTropa on Sunday.

"Must win for us to stay in the hunt for the playoffs," said coach Franz Pumaren, whose Batang Pier also wind up their elims assignments against San Miguel Beer next Friday.

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"We know it's a do-or-die game for GlobalPort and for us it's to secure a playoff spot and try to get into the top six," noted E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia.

The defending champions are on a high following a 118-112 stunner over Barangay Ginebra last Friday in a game where Duke Crews marked his return to Rain or Shine by notching 28 points, 22 rebounds and two blocks.

It was not just the 6-8 banger, who suited up for the E-Painters in 2012 and replaced Shawn Taggart, who did his part. Jericho Cruz, Jay Washington, James Yap and Jewel Ponferrada chipped in their ample share in snapping their team out of a two-game slide.

Everybody in the Rain or Shine camp should chip in their share as GlobalPort could be just as tough as Ginebra.

The Batang Pier are coming off a well-deserved rest following a 94-86 shocker over Meralco last May 10 when Justin Harper, a replacement for Malcolm White, debuted with 30 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

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GlobalPort's new acquisitions also played key roles with Sean Anthony adding 18 and eight and Bradwyn Guinto eight and seven.

"As you can see what we needed is a scoring import. somebody that will give us a new dimension in our game," said Pumaren after the Meralco game. "And of course the new players really helped us."

That fact is not lost on Garcia. "GlobalPort's new players through trades look like a good fit to their system," he said.

What should make the E-Painters' task doubly hard is the return of Terrence Romeo and his averages of almost 19 points and six assists in the five games he has been limited to in the conference due to illness and his Gilas commitments.

With Romeo back to team up with Stanley Pringle and Mike Cortez a very able sub, Garcia knows their work is cut out for them.

"We just have to find ways to control their guards because the last time we played them Terrence played so well," said Garcia.

"We have to come out being aggressive on defense and try to limit their fastbreaks."