The 2-1 Rain or Shine Elasto Painters take on the 2-0 Barako Bull Energy Cola.
Yup, the league’s recently most beloved franchise is currently undefeated after trading away all their 1st round draft picks in the off-season for veteran players and go with a “win now” mentality.
Rain or Shine is coming off a blowout loss to Ginebra a week ago and you have to expect that Coach Yeng Guiao has this Elasto Painter team prepared to get back on the winning track against this very surprising Barako Bull team.
For our keys to the game, we take a look at what has so far made the Energy Cola successful and see how the Elasto Painters can counter it
Barako Bull currently leads the league in three pointers attempted (34.5) and made (13.5) per game for a league best 39.1% mark from beyond the arc. To say that Barako relies on the three pointers to fuel their offense is an understatement as 43% of their shots right now are taken from beyond the arc (the league average is 29%). You really expect their hot shooting to be the norm for the entire season, but Rain or Shine needs to keep tabs on Coach Bong Ramos’ main perimeter gunners in former Elasto Painter Ronjay Buenafe (19 ppg, 59% 3PT%), Denok Miranda (7 ppg, 40% 3PT%), JC Intal (9ppg, 43% 3PT%) and Mick Pennissi (6.5ppg, 33% 3PT%). Take away their three point shooting and their offense should be in shambles.
Okay that’s it. Seriously, this Barako team is being unconscious right now shooting the long shot and I’m confident that that is the only thing the Elasto Painters need to take care of to pull out the victory.
Ryan Arana vs. Ronjay Buenafe
The two former teammates may not spend a lot of time guarding each other, but both have been instrumental in their team’s successes so far in the young conference. Buenafe remains Barako’s main offense weapon right now while Arana has been content with doing his business in transition and within the flow of the offense. Will their scoring streaks continue? Will their scoring lead their teams to a win? We’ll find out tomorrow.