TNT KaTropa shoots for quarterfinal slot
TNT KaTropa looks to formally become the second team to enter the quarterfinals as it goes for another win today in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
The consistent Tropang Texters (6-1) can clinch a berth in the post-season with another win, but desperate Magnolia (3-4) stands in their way as the two meet at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Preceding that is a battle between peaking San Miguel Beer (3-3) and inconsistent GlobalPort (3-4) at 4:30 p.m.
After a disappointing run in the Philippine Cup, TNT KaTropa has been motivated to get back in contention and it is showing exactly just that.
The Tropang Texters, who are eyeing a fourth straight win, are constantly in the top two and can once again regain a share of the tournament lead against Rain or Shine should they keep winning.
Heading in, TNT KaTropa has racked up three in a row and its mentor Nash Racela does not want any letdown.
“What we need to keep doing if keep our focus and what works for us. It’s now about continuing what we built,” said Racela.
On the contrary, the Hotshots have suddenly lost their touch, losing three in a row after winning three straight previously.
They now face a must-win to keep their place inside the top eight.
After a sluggish 0-3 start, the Beermen, not surprisingly to many, are now picking up their business.
Led by reigning four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and Renaldo Balkman, San Miguel is suddenly back in the thick of things after three straight victories.
On the other hand, the Batang Pier is heading the opposite direction, having lost three straight.
Meanwhile, Alaska forward Vic Manuel earned his second PBA Honda-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award following his career effort against Magnolia last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Nicknamed “Muscle Man”, the 6-4 Manuel fired 17 of his new PBA career-high 35 points in the final period to lead Alaska to a pulsating 103-99 win en route to sealing a playoff spot in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Manuel, who averages close to 25 points per contest, has stepped up the plate in the absence of Calvin Abueva (suspended by the team) and Jeron Teng (recovering from stabbed wounds).
The Aces have been benefitting greatly from Manuel’s outstanding plays after winning their sixth straight since dropping their opening game against Rain or Shine.
Manuel, who turns 31 this June 18, snared the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of June 4-10 after beating San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot, Meralco’s KG Canaleta, Rain or Shine’s Chris Tiu and Raymond Almazan as well as Ginebra big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
Alaska returns to action this Friday when it faces NLEX at the Mall of Asia Arena.