BARANGAY Ginebra Gin Kings and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters have one common thing in mind and that’s to bounce back from a loss in the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup.
But only one team will get back to winning track when the Gin Kings and Elasto Painters collide on Tuesday’s main game at 6:45 p.m. at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
After winning their first four games inside the PBA “bubble,” the Gin Kings lost their steam against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 92-102, in the highly anticipated Manila Clasico last Sunday, absorbing their first defeat in the PBA bubble season.
The Elasto Painters also came off from their first defeat with a tough 88-89 loss to the Alaska Aces last October 22. Rain or Shine was supposed to play the Blackwater Elite on Sunday but it was moved to another date after a player from the Elite came out with a false “positive” result.
The league announced Monday that the Blackwater player yielded a negative result on the RT-PCR test taken last Sunday. He also tested negative on antigen.
The Elite player will have to remain in quarantine as part of the precautionary measure, same with the referee who has also tested negative both on RT-PCR and antigen.
“The PBA bubble remains intact and has not been breached. Nevertheless, we urge all participants to be extra cautious and strictly follow the protocols set for them inside the bubble,” PBA said in a statement.
With the good development, teams can now focus on playing halfway into the elimination round.
The Gin Kings are at 4-1 and right behind the league-leading TNT Tropang Giga, while the Elasto Painters are at third spot with 3-1 card. Every team will play 11 games in a single round-robin elimination.
In the other game, the Alaska Aces (3-3) will try to get their rhythm back after San Miguel Beermen, 88-92, snapped their three-game win streak last Saturday. Alaska holds an even 3-3 card and is fighting for one of the top four slots that will guarantee a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs round.
Before the game against San Miguel, the Aces won three straight against Magnolia, Blackwater and Rain or Shine to get back in contention after a dismal 0-2 start of the season.
“I feel we grew up a little bit each and every game as we progressed. Our defense improved a little bit more as we progressed. That’s really all you can ask for in this kind of situation, in this kind of conference in the bubble,” said Alaska mentor Jeffrey Cariaso.
The Dyip, on the other hand, are still searching for their first win in the bubble.