THE Coca-Cola Tigers are still growling in the KFC PBA Philippine Cup and RJ Rizada knows they are capable of playing even better in the crucial stages of current conference.

Given up for dead after a series of setbacks and the injury to their star plater Asi Taulava, the Tigers have rebounded with two straight wins, the last one over Rain or Shine Wednesday last week, that strengthened their bid for a wildcard slot.

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Coca-Cola, sporting a 5-12 win-loss card, seeks to formalize its entry into the knock-out wildcard phase against Barako Bull this Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. Game time is at 5 p.m.

Rizada, who hails from Sasa, Davao City, accounted for 13 points in the Tigers' victory over Rain or Shine. Prior to that, he scored a career-high 20 points when the Tigers beat San Miguel Beer, 118-107.

"Our team is doing well. We prevented to be booted out of the eliminations. We are now in the wildcard stage although we still have to play Barako Bull on Wednesday for the last game of the second round of eliminations," Rizada said in text messages to Sun.Star Monday.

"We have a big chance to pull it through the wildcard with Asi Taulava back and our team playing well in the past three games. We have to get back against the Energy Boosters having lost to them in our first encounter," Rizada added.

Rizada, a former Adidas Streetball Challenge Mindanao slam dunk king and 2000 Palaro ng Bayan gold medal performer, said he'd like to play more aggressive basketball.

"I will basically defend Barako's wingmen and be more aggressive. I will be coming off the bench and maintain same intensity the first five have," he said.

The six-foot-one Rizada said the break being given to him now only came on his third year as a Tiger.

"I have been desperately wanting to have a break. The opportunity came at last. All I have to do is perform well. I really want to get a PBA championship. It may not be now but I'm hoping it will come soon," he said.

The Davao dribbler thanked head coach Bo Perasol for his confidence in him.

"Coach Bo had faith and and trust in me. Before, I was playing on and off without regular playing time in the rotation. I'm so glad for this break," Rizada said.