TALK ‘N Text has a pair of frustrations to avenge against San Miguel Beer, while Barangay Ginebra is looking to retaliate against Magnolia after the Gin Kings were knocked out in the semifinals last conference.
Against these backdrops,these four teams set out today for a pair of quarterfinal rubber-matches with the winners advancing to the semifinal round of the PBA Philippine Cup and the losers going on early vacation.
The KaTropa and the Beermen square off in the first outing at 4:30 p.m. in Game 3 of their best-of-3 series while the Gin Kings and the Hotshots collide in the main tussle at 7 p.m., in a playoff of their separate series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It is still too recent for the KaTropa to forget the two occasions they were ousted by the Beermen in the playoff.
Only last season, the KaTropa were eliminated by the Beermen in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup when the latter enjoyed win-once advantage. Then in season-ending Governors’ Cup, the two teams met again in the best-of-3 quarterfinal series, with the Beermen sweeping KaTropa, 2-0.
But the Beermen themselves have good reasons to be going all out in this game because winning this will put them on the right direction as far as their bid for fifth straight Philippine Cup title is concerned.
The Beermen took Game 1, 80-78, last Saturday, but the KaTropa bounced back to take Game 2, 93-88, on Monday to even up things.
The Gin Kings also took the opener, 86-75, also last Saturday, but the Hotshots rebounded mightily to score a rout in Game 2, 106-77, in a victory Ian Sangalang scored 21 points.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero believes his Hotshots have handsome chances of advancing to the next round if only they will flash the same intensity they showed in Game 2.
“Kapag nadala namin ang parehong effort at desire na ipinakita namin sa Game Two, maganda ang chance namin,” said Victolero, whose Hotshots also advanced to the finals of the same conference last season but lost to the Beermen.
The winner in the TNT-SMB collision will move to the best-of-7 semifinal series with Phoenix Pulse, which defeated Alaska Milk, 91-76, to advance right away.
Rain or Shine which also enjoyed win-once advantage for finishing top 2 behind Phoenix, likewise advanced to the semis by beating no. 7 NorthPort, 91-85, last Sunday, and will play either Ginebra or Magnolia next.