Apr 19, 2024

Hotshots, Elasto Painters clash in expected livewire tiff in Tiaong

IT'S a clash of rampaging teams as Magnolia Chicken Timplados and Rain or Shine lock horns in a Saturday road showcase in Tiaong Convention Center in Tiaong, Quezon.

The Hotshots stake their three-game run while the Elasto Painters put on the line their five-game romp in an expected livewire tiff starting at 6:15 p.m.

Coach Chito Victolero and his troops, at 4-2 overall, push their bid for a twice-to-beat incentive in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals while coach Yeng Guiao and his wards, at 5-4, go for an outright quarters clincher.

"Magandang laban ito, at sana mapasaya namin ang mga taga Tiaong," said Victolero, himself anticipating a fierce battle between two teams determined to boost their drives.

With three straight victories, the Hotshots soared to No. 3 spot, just half game behind the second-running NLEX Road Warriors (5-2).

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The Elasto Painters, on the other hand, rallied into contention, now with a clear shot at the playoffs, with a great turnaround from a fumbling 0-4 conference start.

Even with a depleted roster, ROS strung up victories over Phoenix (100-85), Converge (110-90), Blackwater (110-103), Terrafirma (116-104) and NorthPort (115-105).

And one more win in their last two games against Magnolia and NLEX could send the E-Painters to the post-elims wars.

Guiao acknowledged the wondrous job of Beau Belga in their sudden rise and blitzkrieg.

"Natutuwa kami kasi consistent si Beau," Guiao said of Belga, who made a new personal best score two weeks after netting 25 as part of a milestone triple-double feat with 12 boards and 10 dimes in their rout of Converge.

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"Kailangan talaga niyang mag-double time. Kulang kami sa malaki, hindi pa nakakalaro sila Keith Datu at Luis (Villegas). Pero pinupunan naman ni Beau."

For the Hotshots, it's also about filling gaps in the absence of injured players.

"Buti nabubuo na kami, competitive na ang ensayo, at nadadala namin ang competitiveness sa game," said Victolero.

Shoring up the Magnolia roster is the return of Aris Dionisio and the addition of trade recruit Jerrick Balanza. (SB)