The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the NLEX Road Warriors will face off at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Friday, July 16, 2021, in the much-awaited 46th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Below is the live streaming of the said match which will begin at 3:00 PM.
Chris Gavina makes his PBA head coaching comeback with fresh interest and vigor for the new team Rain or Shine in this matchup. He called the shots for the KIA franchise (Terrafirma) until he parted ways with the team.
Facing an equally determined NLEX Road Warriors side, the 42-year-old mentor said: “I personally am looking forward to getting back in the trenches, and to be going up against an NLEX team led by coach Yeng makes the challenge even more exciting.”
Rain or Shine rookies Leonard Santillan, Andrei Caracut, and Anton Assistio are also in the spotlight. Santillan, the team’s No. 5 overall pick in the last draft out of University of the Visayas and De La Salle, will be scrutinized the most of the three.
“I just told the guys that I know there will be a great deal of adrenaline, anxiety, and nervousness going into our game with NLEX,” said Gavina.
“Even with all those outside factors, our mindset remains steadfast on controlling what we can control. We can control our discipline on both ends of the floor, we can control our effort level, and most of all how we react to adversity when it occurs,” added the returning coach.
Likewise, NLEX is looking to make a name for itself this season after a Philippine Cup campaign that ended just short of the playoffs last year within the Clark bubble.
The Road Warriors have retained their core from last season, as well as adding highly-touted rookie Calvin Oftana and trade acquisition Don Trollano, who will reunite with Guiao after their previous connection at Rain or Shine. Oftana, the former NCAA MVP from San Beda, was selected no. 3 overall by the team in the draft.
“We want to bounce back from our previous disappointing finish and the key to doing that is to have a good start,” said Yeng Guiao.
Kiefer Ravena will undoubtedly maneuver afresh the NLEX offense by his great skills, on top of the seasoned returning key players.
Last year, Rain or Shine finished 8th place in the PBA bubble with an identical six wins and six losses that catapulted them to the quarterfinals. NLEX, on the other hand, concluded the eliminations with five wins and six defeats. The former, however, bowed down to the reigning PBA champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel the quarterfinals, 81-73.
In December 2020, the PBA held its last game, crowning Barangay Ginebra as Philippine Cup champion in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Unlike last season’s setup, the league will have a closed-circuit system for the Philippine Cup this time, with teams, league employees, and the media encouraged to keep a venue-home pattern to limit COVID-19 exposure.
The games will be held four times a week. The conference is also scheduled to go through the end of October.