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September 26, 2017

KaTropa seek pay back in quarterfinal date with E-Painters


RAIN or Shine got TNT's number the first time they met in the PBA Governors Cup.

The Elasto Painters need to figure out the big puzzle the currently streaking KaTropa offer when they face off anew Tuesday to stay alive in the season-ending tourney's quarterfinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.

For finishing the 11-game eliminations as the No. 2 team TNT got a win-once advantage which it plans on pouncing on to make quick work of seventh-ranked Rain or Shine.

Coach Nash Racela, whose KaTropa has won its last four elimination round games capped by a 121-92 rout of Ginebra last Saturday, sure hopes so.

"We lost to Rain or Shine in the elims. Hopefully, we play better (than in that game) in the quarters," said Racela.
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The E-Painters simply just want to live to fight another day.

"We are playing a different TNT team from the first meeting," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.

"They are playing great team basketball and we feel it's a good matchup for both teams," he added. "We just have to want it more tomorrow before we go another game."

Indeed, Rain or Shine beat TNT 105-73 last Aug. 20, but things were vastly different then.

For one, the KaTropa played minus Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy, who were with the Gilas team campaigning in the FIBA Asia Cup.
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Rain or Shine was also without national players Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan, but Garcia got a more balanced effort all around from his remaining players, led by J'Nathan Bullock's 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Glen Rice Jr, also did not exactly get off to a smashing debut in that game. He had 19 points, but was limited to just three points in the first half when TNT fell behind for good.

Since then, however, Rice has steadily proven himself and is currently averaging 32.9 points, 11.25 rebounds and 4.88 assists an outing.

Castro, Pogoy, Rosario and Kelly Williams are also there to deliver additional scoring sock, but Racela maintains it is on the other end of the court where his crew must exert extra effort to stymie the likes of Bullock and the Rain or Shine locals who include Jericho Cruz, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi.

"It has to start on the defensive end by limiting their import and their explosive guards," said Racela.