RAIN or Shine opens its quest for the franchise’s first back-to-back PBA championships today when the Elasto Painters, confident they have the perfect import for their needs, battle another debuting team in Tropang TNT at the resumption of the Governors’ Cup eliminations.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao with the Painters parading the wide-bodied Dior Lowhorn against the Tropang Texters, who will counter with Mario Little and Asian import Michael Madanly.
Lowhorn comes in the mold of Pierre Henderson-Niles—only better, giving coach Yeng Guiao the tools to battle the other league powerhouses who have dominant local big men.
Rain or Shine won the Commissioner’s Cup even with Henderson-Niles proving to be a dud of a scorer. The Painters knocked out the 7-foot Greg Slaughter and Barangay Ginebra as well as June Mar Fajardo and San Miguel Beer in succession in the playoffs.
Though smaller than Henderson-Niles, Lowhorn can score. He averaged close to 31 points a game in previous stints with the Gin Kings and GlobalPort.
Gilas Pilipinas standouts Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan have returned for work, and Paul Lee is expected to be close to 100 percent after getting treatment for his knee injury, making the Painters one of the teams to beat.
The Texters, meanwhile, are still loaded with talent but are likely to sit out Nationals Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro in their early games.
Meanwhile, Mahindra, fresh from upsetting Star, shoots for a share of the early lead today when the Enforcers clash with the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the 4:15 p.m. curtain raiser.
Import Dominique Sutton and Stanley Pringle could be left carrying much of the load for the Batang Pier, who will likely miss Terrence Romeo because of a stomach virus.
Romeo has reportedly failed to practice in the last two days because of the illness.