PBA quarterfinal preview: Streaking Rain or Shine meets eager Globalport
MANILA, Philippines – Carrying with them a franchise-best 7-game winning streak, the red-hot Rain or Shine Elasto Painters begin their title drive when they go up against the young and talented Globalport Batang Pier on Wednesday, January 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
(2) Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (11-3) vs (7) Globalport Batang Pier (5-9)
Philippine Cup head-to-head: Tied, 1-1
Globalport 90, Rain or Shine 88
READ: Leaders step up anew as Globalport downs Rain or Shine
Rain or Shine 98, Globalport 87
READ: Rookie Alex Nuyles Shines as Rain or Shine thwarts Globalport 98-87
Why Rain or Shine will win: Coach Yeng Guiao's troops are on a 7-game winning streak, and that kind of momentum is pretty hard to stop. Everyone in a Rain or Shine uniform is getting a good chunk of the minutes and they are all poised to return to the championship round. Remember, the Elasto Painters are last year's runners-up in this conference. From the starters all the way to the 16th man on the bench, all of Rain or Shine's players have shown a productive stint whenever they're on the floor.
Why Globalport will win: Despite being a young unit, the Batang Pier already proved that they can compete and close out games. However, with the injuries of their respective leaders Jay Washington and Sol Mercado, Globalport must find ways to stop the bleeding. Terrence Romeo should be in top form and must not waste shots; Kelly Nabong should provide the muscle inside against Rain or Shine's Extra Rice, Inc. duo of JR Quinahan and Beau Belga. Lastly, coach Richie Ticzon's wards need to find a way to clamp down on Rain or Shine's shooters and limit their offense.
Sol Mercado (19.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.1 APG) vs Paul Lee (12.2 APG, 2.3 RPG, 3.1 APG)
Sol Mercado, who once played for Rain or Shine, is the cornerstone of this Globalport franchise. He will be going up against an equally bull-strong guard in Paul Lee, who has been a weapon ever since being drafted by the Elasto Painters second overall in 2011. Expect both tough players to slug it out on the hardcourt, with the mindset of leading their respective ballclubs to victory.
Rain or Shine: Alex Nuyles
Nuyles has been phenomenal for Rain or Shine over the past two weeks. He's the best rookie right now in the Elasto Painters' camp, and he should put up the same effort to help his squad advance to the next round.
Globalport: Kelly Nabong, Terrence Romeo
I consider two X-Factors for the Batang Pier in this match-up. Kelly Nabong has been splendid in their last few games, especially with Jay Washington sidelined. He should contain Rain or Shine's frontcourt to help Globalport win this one. Romeo on the other hand, should be sharp. We all know he can explode, but he must be very accurate in this series.
What this game means: Rain or Shine carries a twice-to-beat edge in this series and they are 5 wins away from the Philippine Cup Finals. The road begins here. For Globalport, a young team with not much expectations from observers, this is a chance to score a tremendous upset and barge into the semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
RAPPLER PICK: Rain or Shine in two games