by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Rain or Shine
(Rain or Shine leads series 2-1)
Tired bodies rested. Weary spirits renewed. Prayers answered. Which one would lay claim to the benefits – physically, mentally and spiritually – of the Lenten break?
Rain or Shine and Magnolia will know which of them has been rewarded by the Holy Week pause as they resume their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. with Rain or Shine seeking a commanding 3-1 lead and Magnolia looking to draw level at 2-2 after losing the first two games of the best-of-seven affair.
Magnolia enters Game 4 with a measure of confidence after beating Rain or Shine, 85-74, last Tuesday at the Big Dome.
The lengthy break has enabled the Hotshots to feel a sense of comfort and belief that they can bounce back from losing the first two games and turn the series into a competitive one.
Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon are expected to deliver for Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, who is also pinning his hopes on guys like Justin Melton, Rome dela Rosa, Rafi Reavis, Robbie Herndon, Rodney Brondial and Aldrech Ramos to provide quality minutes at this dire moment.
Despite failing to get a 3-0 lead the last time, Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia expressed faith that his squad remains in control of the semis duel.
Rain or Shine lost steam in the fourth quarter of Game 3 as its offense sputtered and its defense searched in futility for an answer to Sangalang’s clutch heroics.
Rookie Javee Mocon could provide another stellar showing for the Elasto Painters, though it may be time now for James Yap to finally break out of the slump.
Yap is averaging 7.3 points on 8-of-33 shooting in the series.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer and Phoenix were playing at press time.