Game Saturday (Zamboanga City)
5 p.m. — San Miguel vs Talk ’N Text
Games Sunday (Araneta Coliseum)
4 p.m. — Sta. Lucia vs Barako Bull
6:30 p.m. — Burger King vs Ginebra
Rookie guard Chris Ross produced a breakout performance Friday night as Coca-Cola got back at Rain or Shine, 105-83, to firm up its bid for a wildcard seat in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-1 Ross, acquired by the Tigers from Burger King in an off-season trade, showed why he won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the PBL last season by scoring 18 points – a career-best – aside from posting 9 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
His output bettered his previous high of 13 points in a 79-88 loss to Purefoods last December 2. Prior to the game, he averaged only 5.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.2 assist this conference.
The win – a big follow-up to their stunning 118-107 over early semifinalist San Miguel Beer last Sunday – allowed the Tigers, who lost to the Elasto Painters in the first round, 92-84, to move up to solo eighth spot with a 5-12 win-loss card, one game ahead of the Elasto Painters, who fell to 4-13.
Coca-Cola tries to formalize its entry to the knockout wildcard phase when it battles Barako Bull (3-13) on Wednesday, while Rain or Shine must win against Alaska on Friday to earn at least a playoff for the last wildcard slot.
In a fitting follow-up to his 27-point performance over the Beermen over San Miguel Beer, Asi Taulava came through with another double-double showing with 14 points and the same number of 14 rebounds. He also had a remarkable eight assists to help the Tigers turned a close contest into a rout.
Coca-Cola 105 — Ross 18, Macapagal 17, Taulava 14, Rizada 13, David 12, Rodri.guez 8, Cruz 7, Calimag 5, Espino 5, Gonzales 5, Enrile 1, Bono 0
Rain or Shine 83 — Norwood 14, Mercado 14, Laure 14, Chan 12, Arana 12, Telan 8, Dulay 6, Hrabak 3, Arellano 0, Ibanes 0, Reyes.
Quarters: 30-22, 49-46, 76-65, 105-83.