LEAGUE-leading TNT Tropang Giga and fiery Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will put their spotless records on the line on Thursday in the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga are aiming for win No. 5 against the Blackwater Elite, who are fresh from a 38-point beatdown from the hands of the Alaska Aces on Tuesday.
TNT is perfect so far this “bubble” season with victims Phoenix Super LPG, defending champion San Miguel Beermen, Terrafirma Dyip and the Alaska Aces.
The Tropang Giga showed no signs of slowing down on their 19-point routing of the Phoenix Fuel Masters last Monday, as Roger Pogoy put on a scoring show anew with 30 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the field.
The Cebuano guard set the tone for TNT when he dropped a career-high 45 points against Alaska last October 11.
Tropang Giga are also getting huge contributions from Poy Erram, who was acquired by TNT just this year via a blockbuster three-team trade involving NLEX Road Warriors and Blackwater Elite.
The big man from Cagayan de Oro City is norming 15.8 points, 10 boards and 2.5 dimes in his first four games inside the PBA “bubble” with TNT. His breakout game came against the five-time defending champion San Miguel, putting up a double-double of 27 points and 15 rebounds.
The Elite, meanwhile, need more firepower on the offensive end when they battle the undefeated TNT after a blowout loss two days ago. Ed Daquioag and Mike Tolomia were the only players for Blackwater to hit double figures with 18 and 10 points in their last game against the Aces.
The Elite will look for productions from Don Trollano, Mac Belo, Roi Sumang and veteran KG Canaleta.
The spotless E-Painters will face hot-streaking Alaska Aces in the main game at 6:45 p.m. Rain or Shine remains perfect after three games, while Alaska is on a two-game win streak after starting the season at 0-2.
Rain or Shine survived the Northport Batang Pier last Sunday, 70-68, in a game that ended with a crucial whistle from referee Sherwin Pineda, who called a foul on Paolo Taha on a driving Rey Nambatac.
Nambatac secured the game for Rain or Shine after knocking down two free throws. Rookie Adrian Wong led the way for the E-Painters with 15 points, while Nambatac had 10 in a low-scoring game.
The “wrong call” earned the ire of Commissioner Willie Marcial, who decided to send Pineda home.
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said that they will make adjustments on their offense for their game against the Aces, who came off a confidence-boosting 38-point win against Elite.