(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
But the good news for the Elasto Painters, Chris Tiu is returning.
Just last Friday, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters stayed within striking distance against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in a game that went the distance as the Gin Kings needed three extra periods to beat an undermanned Rain or Shine squad. Ginebra's win not only sealed their quarterfinals position but also allowed the Gin Kings to know who they will be facing off against in a best-of-3 quarterfinals series and that team happens to be none other than the Elasto Painters themselves.
However, Coach Caloy Garcia is facing a big problem with a rejuvenated James Yap who missed the last games of his team in the elimination round due to an injury- has been ruled out for the rest of the Philippine Cup. According to Garcia, it was the decision of Yap to sit out the rest of the conference to avoid aggravating his pulled calf muscle injury which he sustained during practice. This is also a bad beat for Yap who was having an equally-rejuvenated conference despite his age, averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and a dime in 9 games.
Fortunately for the Elasto Painters, Chris Tiu is expected to make his much-needed return in time for the quarterfinals after missing the last 3 games due to a hamstring injury. According to Caloy Garcia, Chris Tiu would have been a big boost if he played last Friday against fellow Ateneo graduate, LA Tenorio. And frankly, Rain or Shine will need all the help that they can get despite the possibility that Ginebra star center, Greg Slaughter might miss the series opener as he also missed last Friday's encounter due to a sprain plus the fact that Japeth Aguilar is injured as well.
Who will win the series? It depends on who has more manpower to overcome their respective injury stockpile. But talent-wise, Ginebra has the upper hand considering the fact that they still have Jervy Cruz, Raymond Aguilar, and Joe Devance to fill the void that Greg Slaughter might miss. In fact, it was Jervy Cruz who delivered the biggest blow in the third overtime period last Friday.