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Wild pursuit for the six remaining spots in the Philippine Cup play-offs

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TNT Tropang Giga focuses on Magic 8 against Converge

Play Friday
(Phil Sports Arena)
4:30 PM – Magnolia vs. Terrafirma
7:30 PM – NLEX vs. Rain or Shine

DESPITE recent troubles or even an embarrassing match last time, the dreams of four prospects in the tight race for the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs are within reach.

And all NLEX (5-4), Magnolia (5-4), Rain or Shine of ROS (5-5) and Terrafirma (5-5) have to do is look ahead and make the most of their opportunity to beat the two to get hold of. Quarter-final tickets are up for grabs in today’s double-header at the PhilSports Arena.

It’s the Hotshots and the Dyip who will race for a sixth win at 4:30 p.m. and the Road Warriors and the Elasto Painters will battle for the same victory at 7:30 p.m.

With three dates remaining in the eliminations, only sweep-seeking and twice-beaten San Miguel Beer (10-0) and second-place Barangay Ginebra (7-3) are safely positioned in the next round, leaving the four remaining, plus TNT (5-5), Meralco (5-5) and NorthPort (5-6) in a wild chase for the six remaining berths.

The winners of the Friday Scorcher will take their place in the Final 8, while avoiding complications or worse, suffering sudden death for the last seat in the event of a logjam at the end of Sunday’s preliminaries.

If they manage to break out of a three-game slide at the expense of ROS and go 6-4 tonight, the Road Warriors could even challenge for the No. 2 seed and a one-off win. This Frankie Lim offense can achieve this if they earn their seventh win against the Gin Kings on Sunday.

The Elasto Painters, who have bounced back from an 0-4 start to give themselves a chance at the quarter-finals, are keen to progress at the second attempt after being stalled in a 102-108 defeat to Magnolia.

Meanwhile, the Hotshots are determined to rise after back-to-back losses, especially a 51-74 defeat of Meralco last Sunday in their lowest-scoring performance in franchise history.

However, the odds are heavily in favor of Chito Victolero’s forces in this match, as they have defeated the Dyip in their last sixteen encounters over the past six seasons.

But John Cardel and his team are determined to stop this trend and not waste the opportunity they created when they took a 110-108 pager across the Batang Pier to the neighborhood’s doorstep last week. — Olmin Leyba