Elite go for 5th win

September 25, 2018

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:30 p.m. --  NLEX  vs. Blackwater

7 p.m. -- Rain or Shine vs. Magnolia

A FIFTH straight win  --  a franchise-best -- is  surely in the wish list of Blackwater.

Winning four straight games against  Talk N Text, San  Miguel Beer, NorthPort and defending champion Barangay Ginebra  should  be   enough  reasons  to give the Elite  the  much-needed confidence.

But while  Blackwater coach Bong Ramos believes his team has  already established itself as a legitimate title contender,  he is also  the first to admit  that the  Elite still  has a lot of work to  do to live up to their high billing.

“Four wins pa lang yan. We still have to play seven more games. Kailangan lang namin to treat it one game at a time,” said Ramos after Blackwater’s dramatic 124-118  overtime  win over Ginebra last Friday.

Asked  if  the  Elite  are  for   real, Ramos  readily agreed.

“Nasa puso ko, yes. Sa puso ng mga player sko, I think yes,”  said Ramos, whose team entered the  conference  with little expectations after  a  dismal 1-10 showing in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup that saw him replace long-time mentor Leo Isaac  after a  dismal 0-3 start.

Tonight, Blackwater gets another acid test when it plays dangerous NLEX  in the 4:30 p.m. curtainraiser of  another regular doubleheader at the Smart Araneta  Coliseum.

With coach Yeng Guiao back after his duties with the PBA-backed  national team in the Asian Games and  the F IBA Asia Qualifers, the   Road   Warriors are hoping to get back on track following their113-125 loss to San Miguel last Sept. 1, when  assistant coach Jojo Lastimosa was at the helm.

“I’m excited to get back to competitive  coaching  with NLEX after almost  three months,” said Guaio.

“(The) only problem is, we are  facing the   hottest team in the league  right now. I  think  Blackwater is for real. We  have to be at our best if we are to avoid being their next victim,” explained Guiao.

In the 7 p.m. main game, Magnolia  hopes  to   bounce back  from a stinging 82-95  loss  to  Phoenix last Sunday  when it meets Rain or Shine.

“I think it will be a close game since both teams need to win this game,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

“Galing sa talo, we need to bounce  back and have  that proper mindset going into the game. Defensively, we   (Hotshots) need to be  more aggressive  and  match up the intensity of Rain  or Shine,” Victolero added .

The Hotshots  posted   successive emphatic wins over  the  Road Warriors (102-72)  and    Batang Pier (104-87) before  suffering  their first defeat in the season-ending tournament  at  the hands of the Fuel Masters.

The Elasto Painters played their first outing last Saturday in Passi City, Iloilo but lost  104-110 to the Tropang Texters.