Big finish needed
With their backs to the wall, perennial PBA Philippine Cup powers Magnolia and Alaska set out to snare crucial wins Wednesday in a bid to stay in the hunt for playoff berths in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Fortunately for Hotshots coach Chito Victolero, his squad is not going to hope for a scenario to unfold for them to make it, and they start with their battle with struggling NorthPort at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“While we’re currently along the fringes, our fate this conference is still up to us,” he said in Filipino after Magnolia’s 97-93 overtime loss to crowd darling Barangay Ginebra last Sunday night.
As things stand, the 3-5 Hotshots sit on eighth spot and would want to climb up the standings to play on a level field in the quarterfinals.
And to do that, Magnolia needs nothing less than a sweep of their remaining three games.
“We just hope to stay together as we move forward,” Victolero said. “We just need to win the next three games. I think that will afford us a spot right in the middle.”
NorthPort (2-7) has yet to secure a win after opening the conference with back-to-back wins.
Meanwhile, the Aces, who lost to the Hotshots in last season’s Governors’ Cup Finals, are also at 3-5 and hard-pressed to pile up wins.
They slug it out with Meralco in the 4:30 p.m. game and are looking to regain the form that gave them a 3-2 record in their first five games.
Meralco, on the other hand, also has its back to the wall and at 3-6, would need to close out with two victories, counting this critical clash with the Aces.
Norman Black’s Bolts have failed to advance past the eliminations here since 2015 and a victory tonight could give them hope of snapping that streak.