Thursday, March 15, 2012



The Express want to prove they are, hoping to sustain their push to make the PBA Commissioner’s
Cup playoffs after an embarrassing winless stint in the Philippine Cup.

Marcus Douthit and his teammates look to inch closer to the post-elim plays as they take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“We’re working hard and we’re hoping we gets a reward,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.

The Express are on the run, pulling the rug from under the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, 89-78, then topping the Alaska Milk Aces, 88-85, to be among the front runners entering the homestretch of the elims.

“The downside of winning is teams now prepare for us,” said Pumaren, expecting uphill battle
from hereon.

He’s especially wary of a Rain or Shine team fighting to salvage whatever is left in its bid.

At 1-5, the Elasto Painters need to sweep its three remaining games to possibly get a playoff shot at the last quarterfinals slot.

Rain or Shine, however, kisses its playoff hopes goodbye if six teams wind up with at least five
wins each.

At the moment, Rain or Shine is still mathematically in the running for the playoffs.

Import Duke Crews and his teammates hope to finally get their act together then wait and see where this leads them to.

Rain or Shine has lost its last three games, dropping all these on fourth-quarter meltdown.

Air21, meanwhile, has suddenly become a contender while getting tremendous boost from its do-it-all reinforcement.

“He knows that as an import, he’s got to work harder than others,” said Pumaren.

“There’s no doubt that he wants to win. And because his orientation is defense, Marcus is a
perfect fit for us. He’s an intimidator inside the lane. He makes guys change shots. He’s a
ferocious rebounder,” Pumaren added. (SB)