Sports: B-Meg, Rain or Shine on collision course
As early as now, the top two teams in the current Governor’s Cup elimination round-Second Conference winner B-Meg and Rain or Shine, are the favorites to meet in the finals of the season-ending tourney of the Philippine Basketball Association’s 37th offering with their 5-1 and 4-1 win-loss records, respectively.
Coach Tim Cone’s charges lost their initial outing against the Elasto Painters in overtime via a 100-94 defeat last May 25. However, the Llamados racked up five straight triumphs highlighted by their 77-61 beating of lowly Alaska last Wednesday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to improve (and even lead) in the standings.
With import Marcus Blakely playing sweet music together with his local B-Meg teammates, the Llamados have won five in a row: against Ginebra (96-88), over Barako Bull (95-90), versus Meralco (88-83), then against Air21 in Digos, Davao del Sur (91-78) and finally over the Aces.
B-Meg will face Petron on the 17th while on June 27, the Llamados will meet Talk ‘N Text at the Big Dome before winding up their elimination round campaign with a June 30 faceoff with streaking Powerade. At this point in time, B-Meg is almost assured of a playoff appearance in the Governor’s Cup.
Escalante City’s James Yap was held to a measly eight markers in that low-scoring encounter with mentor Luigi Trillo’s Aces (1-5) but Peter June Simon and JC Intal scored 13 apiece just like Blakely for Cone’s fifth victory in succession this conference.
Reserves like Yancy de Ocampo, Marc Pingris and Joshua Urbiztondo have also stepped up in the Governor’s Cup for the Llamados with Joe Devance sidelined by an injury. Even the likes of Val Acuna, Ken Bono, Jerwin Gaco and Mike Burtscher have been fielded by Coach Tim during games where B-Meg was already assured of winning.
As for Rain or Shine, Yeng Guiao’s wards are likewise on a roll despite the team’s first setback in the current conference versus Powerade in a 104-98 loss last June 8. The Tigers snapped ROS’ four-game win run behind Gary David’s 30 markers and import Omar Sneed’s 24 points.
The Elasto Painters first won over Alaska, 107-100, over at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City last May 20 before subduing B-Meg by six points five days later. Rain or Shine also prevailed over the Express, 106-92, last May 30 followed by a close 93-90 squeaker of a win scored versus the Kings last June 6.
In that particular game, the Asian Coatings franchise quintet of Terry Que and Raymund Yu slipped past the crowd favorites behind import Jamelle Cornley’s 27 points and 14 rebounds while Paul Lee and Jeffrei Chan added 18 each for the close triumph. The duo combined for 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc for ROS.
In the current Governor’s Cup, Coach Yeng has limited his options to only 10-12 players per game unlike before when he fields almost everyone from the bench, win or lose. Aside from Cornley, Lee and Chan, the Pampanga vice-governor is often using players like Ronjay Buenafe, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Jervy Cruz, Jireh Ibanes, JR Quinahan, Ryan Arana, Ronnie Matias and at times, TY Tang.
They faced the Bolts yesterday in the first game of a Friday twinbill with Meralco hoping for another triumph with new reinforcement Mario West in the lineup. Rain or Shine will also have Barako Bull, Petron and Talk ‘N Text as its final opponents in the Third Conference. One more win and they’ll be assured of a playoff appearance in the Governor’s Cup.
The current team standings: B-Meg (5-1), Rain or Shine (4-1), Barako Bull (3-2), Barangay Ginebra (3-2), Powerade (3-2), Petron (3-3), Meralco (2-3), Talk ‘N Text (1-3), Air21 (1-4) and Alaska (1-5).
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